Margrethe Therkildsen

Associate professor

Margrethe Therkildsen


My main research area is meat quality with emphasis on tenderness of beef and pork and the biochemical processes involved in the tenderisation of meat post mortem. In general, this involves development of production strategies to improve the eating quality of meat.

My focus is orientated towards muscle growth and development and the linkage between in vivo protein turnover and post mortem tenderisation. This includes development of methods to explore the in vivo protein turnover and the regulation of protein synthesis and degradation in the live animal, as well as studies of the proteolytical enzyme system; the calpains, and their involvement in both muscle growth and post mortem tenderisation. In addition, the research also includes classical methods to measure proteolysis post mortem such as determination of myofibrillar fragmentation index (MFI) and Western blotting of specific muscle proteins as well ad proteome analyses of muscle tissue.

Lately, compensatory growth strategies has been studied in both pigs and cattle, in order to optimise muscle protein turnover in the live animal, and especially muscle protein degradation at time of slaughter in order to optimise the tenderness development post mortem. Muscle protein degradation during a compensatory growth period in bull calves period has been elucidated. These results are now used to evaluate the optimal time of slaughter of animals on a feeding strategy involving restrictive and ad libitum feeding periods.

As a new way to explore and develop beef production, production development and sale I am involved in a network called “Development of concepts for beef products from stable to table”. The participants are butchers, processing enterprises, beef producers and scientists within meat quality and marketing area, and the aim is through collaboration to develop concepts for beef products, which builds on story, differentiation and quality in fresh as well as processed beef products.


Trade union representative for AC and IDA members at Department of Food Science.


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