September 16, 2009

Often in meat processing, certain cuts of beef go unused. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture researchers have been looking at ways to make those cuts more palatable and therefore, more profitable for meat processors.

Surendranath Suman, an assistant professor in UK's Department of Animal and Food Sciences, recently experimented with ginger as a meat tenderizer in underutilized beef muscles, primarily the biceps femoris in this case.

"I think the general public would be surprised to know that ginger can successfully be used as a natural source of meat tenderizing enzymes and a source of antioxidants as well," Suman said. "We worked with funding from the Kentucky Beef Council on this project and found it's quite useful to use ginger to improve meat tenderness as well as other beef quality attributes."

Suman co-authored a paper about his research with colleagues Gregg Rentfrow and Youling Xiong, both faculty members in the UK College of Agriculture, and presented his findings at the 55th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology in Copenhagen, Denmark earlier this summer.

The paper was one of three Suman presented at the congress, and he subsequently won the 2009 International Meat Secretariat Prize for Meat Science and Technology. The prize recognizes meat scientists younger than 40-years-old for their contributions that have the most impact on either knowledge or application for the industry or the furtherance of meat science and technology.

As part of his prize, Suman will receive $5,000 and travel expenses toward his attendance at the 18th World Meat Congress, in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2010. There he will deliver a keynote presentation about his research.

Although a team of U.S. researchers won the award in 2004, Suman is the first individual American scientist to win the IMS Prize.

Suman originally is from India where he studied veterinary medicine at Kerala Agricultural University. He then earned a doctorate from the University of Connecticut prior to joining UK's faculty in 2006.

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