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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

A review on pale, soft, and exudative (PSE)-like zones in pork: current knowledge on underlying factors and identification of knowledge gaps for further research

Mashood, Qasim; Karlsson, Anders H.; Wallenbeck, Anna; Eriksson, Susanne; Johansson, Anna M.; Segerkvist, Katarina Arvidsson


This review examines the multi-factor problem of pale, soft, and exudative (PSE)-like zones in pork causing slicing losses in valuable cuts. Increasing slaughter weight, suboptimal chilling regime, effects of post-slaughter pH and temperature on glycolysis, and protein denaturation seem to be important factors connected to water-holding and colour attributes. The presence and expression of the n allele on the RYR1 gene and the RN - allele on the PRKAG3 gene increase PSE incidence. Studies involving tissue characterization of destructured muscles have associated oxidative stress and apoptotic processes with the progression of 'PSE-like zones'. Classical PSE meat shows many histological and biological similarities with PSE-like zones, particularly in protein characteristics, but there are differences in underlying physiological mechanisms limiting PSE-like zones to deep semimembranosus muscles. Developing early detection methods, efficient carcass handling, mapping underlying physiological mechanisms, and determining genetic background are important future measures to eliminate PSE-like zones and improve pork quality.


Pork; PSE-like zones; oxidative stress; apoptotic processes; mapping; genetic background

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science