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Monitoring post mortem changes in porcine muscle through 2-D DIGE proteome analysis of Longissimus muscle exudate

Alessio Di Luca1, Giuliano Elia2, Anne Maria Mullen1 and Ruth M Hamill1*

Author Affiliations

1 Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin 15, Ireland

2 Mass Spectrometry Resource, UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

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Proteome Science 2013, 11:9  doi:10.1186/1477-5956-11-9

Published: 20 March 2013



Meat quality is a complex trait influenced by a range of factors with post mortem biochemical processes highly influential in defining ultimate quality. High resolution two-dimensional DIfference Gel Electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) and Western blot were applied to study the influence of post mortem meat ageing on the proteome of pork muscle. Exudate collected from the muscle following centrifugation was analysed at three timepoints representing a seven day meat ageing period.


The intensity of 136 spots varied significantly (pā€‰<ā€‰0.05) across this post mortem period and 40 spots were identified using mass spectrometry. The main functional categories represented were metabolic proteins, stress-related proteins, transport and structural proteins. Metabolic and structural proteins were generally observed to increase in abundance post mortem and many likely represent the accumulation of the degradation products of proteolytic enzyme activity. In contrast, stress-related proteins broadly decreased in abundance across the ageing period. Stress response proteins have protective roles in maintaining cellular integrity and a decline in their abundance over time may correlate with a reduction in cellular integrity and the onset of meat ageing. Since cellular conditions alter with muscle ageing, changes in solubility may also contribute to observed abundance profiles.


Muscle exudate provided valuable information about the pathways and processes underlying the post mortem ageing period, highlighting the importance of post mortem modification of proteins and their interaction for the development of meat quality traits.

2-D DIGE; Western blot; Exudate; Meat ageing