Pale, soft, and exudative (PSE) meat has been recognized for decades. Fast glycolysis during early post-mortem stage while the muscle temperature is still high is the cause of PSE meat. To elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying this fast glycolysis in muscle to become PSE meat, post-mortem ATP metabolism, fructose-2,6-diphosphate content, and the activities of AMPK, glycogen phosphorylase, and pyruvate kinase were examined in post-mortem muscle. Earlier and faster post-mortem AMPK activation was responsible for the significantly lower pH and higher lactic acid accumulation (p < 0.05) seen in PSE muscle, which resulted in the occurrence of PSE meat. In muscle that became PSE meat, AMPK was activated at 0 h post-mortem and reached maximal activation at 0.5 h post-mortem, whereas AMPK reached maximal activation at 1 h post-mortem in the normal pork loin. Higher fructose-2,6-diphosphate content (p < 0.05) was detected in PSE muscle compared to normal muscle at early post-mortem stage. However, no difference in the activities of glycogen phosphorylase and pyruvate kinase, rate-controlling enzymes in glycogenolysis and glycolysis, respectively, was detected between PSE and normal pork loins. Because fructose-2,6- diphosphate is a product of phosphofructokinase-2 (PFK-2), these data suggest that AMPK regulates post-mortem glycolysis through its phosphorylation and activation of PFK-2, which then up-regulates the activity of phosphofructokinase-1 (PFK-1), a key rate-controlling enzyme in glycolysis. Early AMPK activation in PSE muscle is associated with early consumption of ATP, because higher AMP and IMP contents and lower ATP content were detected in PSE meat compared to normal meat. Other mechanisms causing early AMPK activation in PSE meat may exist, which warrants further investigation.
- AMP-activated protein kinase
- Lactic acid
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)