Effects of Gender and Slaughter Age on Physicochemical and Functional Quality Traits of Korean Hanwoo Meat

Md. Hossain1,2, Shine Aung1,3, Ji Park1, Seon Kim1, Sang Lee1, Ki Nam1,*
Author Information & Copyright
1Department of Animal Science and Technology, Sunchon National University, Suncheon 57922, South Korea, Suncheon 57922, Korea.
2Department of Applied Food Science and Nutrition, Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chattogram 4225, Bangladesh.
3Department of Zoology, Kyaukse University, Kyaukse 05151, Myanmar.
*Corresponding Author: Ki Chang Nam, Department of Animal Science and Technology, Sunchon National University, Suncheon 57922, South Korea, Suncheon 57922, Korea, Republic of. E-mail:

© Copyright 2023 Korean Society of Animal Science and Technology. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hanwoo beef is in strong demand because of its unique flavor, freshness, and high-fat content. On the other hand, the longer rearing time required to increase marbling in Hanwoo cattle has negative environmental effects, such as greenhouse gas emissions and increased total rearing costs. The Korean meat industry recently introduced heifer meat as a lean alternative in response to consumer preferences for leaner and healthier meat. Nevertheless, the effects of gender status and slaughter age on meat quality traits have not been studied extensively. This study examined the influence of gender status (steer, heifer, and cow) on the physicochemical and functional quality traits of Hanwoo beef at their respective slaughter ages, focusing on striploin cuts. The physiochemical properties were measured according to the Association of Official Analytical Chemists method. Fatty acid profiles were determined by the gas chromatography method, while the metabolite profiles were measured using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The steer meat exhibited significantly higher fat (14.61%) and cholesterol (41.92 mg/100g) contents than other gender groups (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05). Significant variations were observed among the meat types for physicochemical traits, including the shear force, color, cooking loss, collagen properties, and chondroitin content (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05). The muscle fiber area was higher in steer meat (1545.23 μm<sup>2</sup>) than in heifer or cow meat (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05). There were no substantial differences in fatty acid composition and lipid indices between steer and heifer meat, whereas significant differences were observed in cow meat. Cow meat exhibited higher metabolite levels than steer and heifer meat. Overall, except for some variations in physicochemical qualities, cow meat demonstrated a superior nutraceutical composition, fatty acid composition, lipid indices, and beneficial metabolites for a healthy diet compared to steer and heifer meat.

Keywords: Hanwoo meat; gender status; slaughter age; physicochemical quality; fatty acid profile; metabolites