Characterization of Pork Loin Chop Color Stability Using Loin Quality Traits and Instrumental Discoloration Measures

Kayla E. Barkley, Dustin D. Boler, Surendranath P. Suman, Anna C. Dilger, Bailey N. Harsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to characterize the color stability of pork loin chops using fresh quality traits and instrumental measures of discoloration. Boneless pork loins (N = 484) were evaluated for quality traits at 11 or 14 d postmortem. One chop was cut from each loin near the 10th rib for retail display, overwrapped, and displayed under constant fluorescent lighting for 7 d. Objective color, myoglobin redox forms, and subjective visual discoloration traits were evaluated daily. After retail display, chops were categorized based on final visual discoloration (Day 7) as Very Color Stable (VCS; 0% to 5% discoloration), Color Stable (CS; 5% to 10% discoloration), Neutral (10% to 25% discoloration), Color Labile (CL; 25% to 30% discoloration), or Very Color Labile (VCL; >30% discoloration). Quality and color traits were analyzed using the GLIMMIX (visual discoloration) or MIXED (all other measures) procedure of SAS. Retail display data were analyzed as repeated measures. Chops ultimately classified as CS or VCS were darker, redder, and had lesser surface metmyoglobin (P < 0.01) than CL and VCL chops at both Day 1 of retail display and throughout display. Stable chops also had generally increased R630/580 values as well as decreased visual discoloration scores and yellowness during display. A group × day interaction was observed for all traits measured during retail display (P < 0.0001). No differences in aged loin ventral surface redness were observed between color stability groups (P ≥ 0.16). Overall, chops ultimately classified as CS came from aged loins that were generally darker, redder, and less yellow, with greater pH values, greater marbling scores, and decreased purge loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14459
JournalMeat and Muscle Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • color
  • color stability
  • discoloration
  • myoglobin
  • pork
  • quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science


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