Wagyu beef has ‘unique fatty acid composition’

Wagyu beef is a “curve bender” in terms of fatty acid composition, and the breed has the ability to actually change the way fatty acids are manufactured in an animal’s body.

Wagyu beef has ‘unique fatty acid composition’
The fatty acid composition in Wagyu beef is responsible for its unique taste.
Photo: Woodview Professional Genetics
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Wagyu beef is a “curve bender” in terms of fatty acid composition, and the breed has the ability to actually change the way fatty acids are manufactured in an animal’s body.

This was according to Prof Dale Woerner, an associate professor of meat science at the Texas Tech University in Lubbock in the US, who was speaking at the 2019 Wagyu Conference held at Nampo Park near Bothaville last Friday.

Woerner said fatty acids were the building blocks of fat, and an increase in fatty acids increased the flavour and desirability of meat.

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However, there was no doubt that its fatty acid composition made Wagyu beef a unique product, Woerner said.

“All factors such as enzymes and glucose levels considered, Wagyu beef is the perfect storm. However, genetics are vital. No amount of feeding can supersede genetics and that is why high genetic standards in the breeding of Wagyu cattle are so important.”

Woerner said the predominant fat in beef consisted of monounsaturated fatty acids, and added that it was a well-established fact that these fatty acids were “heart health”.

The fatty acids in Wagyu beef were, among other elements, high in oleic acid, which was a common monounsaturated fat in the human diet, he said.

It had been associated with a decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and a possible increase in high-density (HDL) cholesterol. HDL was known as “good cholesterol”, as it transported cholesterol to the liver to be expelled from the body.

HDL helped rid the body of excess cholesterol so it was less likely to end up in a person’s arteries, he explained.

Wagyu beef’s high levels of palmitic fatty acids, in combination with the oleic acids, added to the buttery and nutlike taste of Wagyu beef, he said.

Woerner added that these two fatty acids produced volatile aromatic compounds during cooking, which were responsible for the “unsurpassed” taste of Wagyu beef.

 

Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.