Composition of free and peptide-bound amino acids in beef chuck, loin, and round cuts

J Anim Sci. 2016 Jun;94(6):2603-13. doi: 10.2527/jas.2016-0478.


Meat is a food for humans. However, beef consumption in the United States has steadily declined by >14% over the past decade due to a variety of factors, including insufficient knowledge of animal protein. This study quantified all proteinogenic AA as well as nutritionally and physiologically significant nonproteinogenic AA and small peptides in beef cuts from 3 subprimals (chuck, round, and loin). Beef carcasses ( = 10) were selected at 3 commercial packing plants in the United States. Retail-cut samples were analyzed for the nitrogenous substances after acid, alkaline, or enzymatic hydrolysis and after deproteinization. In these chuck, round, and loin cuts, total amounts of glutamate (free plus peptide bound) were the highest (69-75 mg/g dry weight) followed by lysine, leucine, arginine, and glutamine in descending order. This is the first study to determine aspartate, asparagine, glutamate, and glutamine in meat proteins of any animal species. In all the beef samples evaluated, glutamine was the most abundant free AA (4.0-5.7 mg/g dry weight) followed by taurine, alanine, glutamate, and β-alanine. Additionally, samples from all beef cuts had high concentrations of anserine, carnosine, and glutathione, which were 2.8 to 3.7, 15.2 to 24.2, and 0.68 to 0.79 mg/g dry weight, respectively. Beef top loin steaks appear to provide higher protein nutrition values than top round steaks and under blade roasts, but all are excellent sources of proteinogenic AA as well as antioxidant AA and peptides to improve human growth, development, and health. Our findings may help guide future decisions regarding human and animal nutrition.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Food Quality*
  • Humans
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Red Meat / analysis*
  • United States


  • Amino Acids
  • Peptides