Changes in Cathepsin Activity during Low-temperature Storage and Sous Vide Processing of Beef Brisket

Lovedeep Kaur1,2,*, Seah Xin Hui1, Mike Boland2
Author Information & Copyright
1School of Food and Advanced Technology, Massey University, 4442 Palmerston North, New Zealand
2Riddet Institute, Massey University, 4442 Palmerston North, New Zealand
*Corresponding Author : Lovedeep Kaur. School of Food and Advanced Technology, Massey University, 4442 Palmerston North, New Zealand. Tel: +64-6-951-7261. E-mail:

© Copyright 2020 Korean Society for Food Science of Animal Resources. 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.

Received: Nov 8, 2019 ; Revised: Feb 25, 2020 ; Accepted: Mar 9, 2020

Published Online: Mar 12, 2020


It is believed that two main proteolytic systems are involved in the tenderization of meat: the cathepsins and the calpains. Many researchers consider the calpain system to be the major contributor to meat tenderness during post-mortem storage. However, the role and activity of cathepsins during post-mortem storage or low temperature meat processing is unclear, particularly for the tough meat cuts like brisket. Thus, the study was designed to investigate the effects of cold (refrigerated and frozen) storage and sous vide processing on the activities of cathepsin B, H and L in beef brisket. There were no significant changes in pH and cathepsin H activity throughout the 18 days of storage at both temperatures. However, an increase in cathepsin B activity was observed during the first 4 days at both storage temperatures, but subsequently the activity remained unchanged. Cathepsins B and L were found to be more heat stable at sous vide temperatures (50˚C for 24 h, 55˚C for 5 h and at 60˚C and 70˚C for 1 hour) compared to cathepsin H. Cathepsin B + L activity was found to increase after sous vide cooking at 50˚C for 1 h but decreased to about 47 % relative to the uncooked control after 24 h of cooking. These results suggest that cathepsins B and L may contribute to the improved meat tenderness usually seen in sous vide cooked brisket meat.

Keywords: Cathepsin; endogenous enzymes; meat; post-mortem storage; sous vide

Journal Title Change

We announce that the title of our journal and related information were changed as below from January, 2019.


Before (~2018.12)

After (2019.01~)

Journal Title

Korean Journal for Food Science of Animal Resources

Food Science of Animal Resources

Journal Abbreviation

Korean J. Food Sci. An.

Food Sci. Anim. Resour.







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