Use of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 to Improve Beef Tenderness

  • Aimee Wertz (Iowa State University)
  • Donald C. Beitz (Iowa State University)
  • Allen H. Trenkle (Iowa State University)
  • Travis J. Knight (Iowa State University)
  • Ronald L. Horst (United States Department of Agriculture)
  • Elisabeth J. Huff-Lonergan orcid logo (Iowa State University)
  • Frederick C. Parrish (Iowa State University)


Feeding the 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25-OH D3) metabolite of vitamin D3 has been reported to improve beef tenderness and result in lower vitamin D3 metabolite concentrations in meat. Because 25-OH D3 remains elevated in plasma for at least 8 d subsequent to feeding, we believe that 25-OH D3 can be fed as a one-time oral bolus and allow a flexible time frame for harvest with the same improvement in postmortem calcium-dependent proteolysis and beef tenderness. To test this hypothesis, 108 crossbred steers were allotted, six steers per pen to 18 pens and treatments were assigned randomly to pen. Treatments were 25-OH D3 dosage (62.5 or 125 mg) and time of administration of the one-time oral bolus (4, 7, 21, or 35 d before harvest). Control steers received no 25-OH D3. Regardless of time of bolusing relative to harvest, the one-time oral bolus elevated plasma 25-OH D3 concentration and it remained elevated through harvest for steers assigned to either dosages of 25-OHD3. Plasma calcium concentration, however, remained unchanged compared with that of controls, regardless of dosage or time of bolusing relative to harvest. The one-time oral bolus of 25-OH D3 did not result in an improvement in tenderness as determined by Warner-Bratzler shear force or an improvement postmortem proteolysis as determined by troponin-T degradation. We conclude that a one-time oral bolus of 62.5 or 125 mg of 25-OH D3 was sufficient to elevate plasma 25-OH D3 concentration and maintain an elevated plasma 25-OH D3 concentration for up to 35 d. The dosage of 25-OH D3, however, was insufficient to result in elevated plasma calcium and therefore did not enhance calcium-dependent proteolysis postmortem to result in beef that is more tender.

Keywords: Animal Science, ASL R1841

How to Cite:

Wertz, A., Beitz, D. C., Trenkle, A. H., Knight, T. J., Horst, R. L., Huff-Lonergan, E. J. & Parrish, F. C., (2003) “Use of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 to Improve Beef Tenderness”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2003
Peer Reviewed