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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Phenotypic and genetic variation of ultraviolet-visible-infrared spectral wavelengths of bovine meat

Bittante, Giovanni; Savoia, Simone; Cecchinato, Alessio; Pegolo, Sara; Albera, Andrea


Spectroscopic predictions can be used for the genetic improvement of meat quality traits in cattle. No information is however available on the genetics of meat absorbance spectra. This research investigated the phenotypic variation and the heritability of meat absorbance spectra at individual wavelengths in the ultraviolet-visible and near-infrared region (UV-Vis-NIR) obtained with portable spectrometers. Five spectra per instrument were taken on the ribeye surface of 1185 Piemontese young bulls from 93 farms (13,182 Herd-Book pedigree relatives). Linear animal model analyses of 1481 single-wavelengths from UV-Vis-NIRS and 125 from Micro-NIRS were carried out separately. In the overlapping regions, the proportions of phenotypic variance explained by batch/date of slaughter (14 +/- 6% and 17 +/- 7%,), rearing farm (6 +/- 2% and 5 +/- 3%), and the residual variances (72 +/- 10% and 72 +/- 5%) were similar for the UV-Vis-NIRS and Micro-NIRS, but additive genetics (7 +/- 2% and 4 +/- 2%) and heritability (8.3 +/- 2.3% vs 5.1 +/- 0.6%) were greater with the Micro-NIRS. Heritability was much greater for the visible fraction (25.2 +/- 11.4%), especially the violet, blue and green colors, than for the NIR fraction (5.0 +/- 8.0%). These results allow a better understanding of the possibility of using the absorbance of visible and infrared wavelengths correlated with meat quality traits for the genetic improvement in beef cattle.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2021, volume: 11, number: 1, article number: 13946

Authors' information

Bittante, Giovanni
University of Padua
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics
University of Padova
Associazione Nazionale Allevatori Bovini di Razza Piemontese
Cecchinato, Alessio
University of Padua
Pegolo, Sara
University of Padua

UKÄ Subject classification

Food Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)