The rich history of meat science at UW Madison goes back almost one hundred years and has changed the world. In that near century, researchers have worked to maximize the quality of meat from the animals that are harvested and to prevent spoilage of that meat – greatly reducing waste – while providing nutritious and safe to eat food to accomplish all things good. The work continues, with exciting new areas in alternative protein, biologics, and cultured meat. MSABD will continue to support Wisconsin agriculture and the meat industry, provide solutions adopted by industry – such as high speed low temperature air blasting cooling – and teach the next generation of leaders and innovators who may someday find their own name added to this history.
Researchers could now obtain tissue, analyze the composition of carcasses, and better understand their work.
Researchers found that swine who received exercise before harvest had less stress and glycogen (or energy) in their muscles, which reduced the production of lactic acid – a substance known to reduce meat quality.
In the 1960s, Kauffman also created the Animal Sciences Academic Quadrathalon to engage students in what would become the World Dairy Expo. Competitions are still held to this day and have spread to campuses across the United States, educating students on the applications and history of meat science.
Kolb was UW Madison’s first Meat Extension faculty member and ran the “Meat for Modern Living” program, as well as hosted the State Fair Meat exhibit.
Kolb followed in the footsteps of James Lacey. Lacey, a livestock extension specialist in Animal Husbandry, was the first meat lab staff member to relate to farmer needs for programs in slaughtering, processing, and preserving meat for their own use – especially during WWII and the immediate following years.
Dennis Buege joined UW Madison in 1977. In 1971, the USDA introduced HACCP to the public, and HACCP was adopted by the meat industry. Buege was instrumental in training meat plant managers on HACCP and assisting them in developing their own HACCP plans – providing service to Wisconsin meat processors and producers.
"He [Edwin] was an international authority on the use of sodium nitrite to prevent botulism and spoilage." - Memorial Committee
After overseeing the move of the Food Research Institute (FRI) from the University of Chicago to UW Madison in 1966, Edwin Foster established the Department of Food Microbiology and Toxicology at UW Madison in 1975. His research into packaging extended the shelf life of refrigerated ready to eat meats from two to eight weeks. Edwin influenced the course of food safety. Extensive joint research into food safety between MSABD, FRI, and UW Madison microbiologists continues to this day.
Greaser also did research that led to the naming of troponin, which are regulatory proteins that mediate interaction between actin and myosin in muscles. Troponin is now an indicator of heart attacks in humans – an example of how the meat lab’s work on muscle led to improvements in human health. Greaser also studied titin, which protects muscle fibers from overstretching and has applications in improving meat tenderness and human heart disease reduction.
In 2018, MSABD Director Dr. Dan Schaefer asks Dr. Elton “Abe” Aberle, former dean of CALS (1998-2005), to join the MSABD Advisory Council. In evaluating the viability of biologics as a main programmatic theme, Dr. Aberle becomes one of the strongest advocates for biologics research at MSABD. Dr. Aberle also advocated for the construction of MSABD as CALS Dean.