The objective of this study was to estimate genetic parameters for concentrations of minerals in LM and to evaluate their associations with beef palatability traits. Samples of LM from 2,285 Angus cattle were obtained and fabricated into steaks for analysis of mineral concentrations and for trained sensory panel assessments. Nine minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc, were quantified. Restricted maximum likelihood procedures were used to obtain estimates of variance and covariance components under a multiple-trait animal model. Estimates of heritability for mineral concentrations in LM varied from 0.01 to 0.54. Iron and sodium were highly and moderately heritable, respectively, whereas the other minerals were lowly heritable except for calcium, copper, and manganese, which exhibited no genetic variation. Strong positive genetic correlations existed between iron and zinc (0.49, P < 0.05), between magnesium and phosphorus (0.88, P < 0.05), between magnesium and sodium (0.68, P < 0.05), and between phosphorus and potassium (0.69, P < 0.05). Overall tenderness assessed by trained sensory panelists was positively associated with manganese, potassium, and sodium and negatively associated with phosphorus and zinc concentrations (P <0.05). Juiciness assessed by trained sensory panelists was negatively associated with magnesium and positively associated with manganese and sodium concentrations (P < 0.05). Livery or metallic flavor was not associated with any of the minerals (P > 0.05). Beefy flavor was positively associated with calcium, iron, and zinc and negatively associated with sodium concentration, whereas a painty or fishy flavor was positively associated with sodium and negatively associated with calcium and potassium concentrations (P < 0.05). Beef is a major contributor of iron and zinc in the human diet, and these results demonstrate sufficient genetic variation for these traits to be improved through marker-assisted selection programs without compromising beef palatability.
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