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Influence of weaning on carcass quality, fatty acid composition and meat quality in intensive lamb production systems

  • C. Sañudo (a1) (a2), I. Sierra (a2), J. L. Olleta (a2), L. Martin (a2), M. M. Campo (a2), P. Santolaria (a2), J. D. Wood (a1) and G. R. Nute (a1)...


This study investigated the effects of weaning and sex on various aspects of production and quality characteristics in 22 male and 18 female lambs of the Rasa Aragonesa local meat breed. Half the lambs were weaned (W) at 38 to 40 days and half were left unwearied (UW). Both groups were given ad libitum concentrates and cereal straw. Average farm weight was 22·1 kg at 78·3 days. Live-weight gain was significantly different between sexes but not between W and UW lambs. Dressing proportion was higher in UW lambs. Significant differences in fatness were found between W and UW lambs and between sex of lambs. Among the meat quality traits, W lambs had redder and UW lambs paler meat judged by colour a* and haem pigment concentration. No statistical differences were found in the other traits except flavour intensity, which was higher in UW (66·8) than in W (63·6) lambs on a 1 to 100 scale. All other eating quality aspects, in grilled m. longissimus lumborum slices, tended to be higher in UW lambs. The fatty acid composition of subcutaneous and intramuscular fat depots differed significantly (intramuscular fat was more unsaturated and polyunsaturated). There were also differences between W and UW lambs in subcutaneous fat (higher unsaturated in W lambs). However in intramuscular fat composition only differences in polyunsaturated fatty acids (higher in UW lambs), but not in total unsaturated or saturated, were observed. Tatty acids of less than C16 chain length were higher, in both fat depots, in UW lambs than in W lambs reflecting greater incorporation of milk fatty acids. Palatability characteristics were not closely associated with fatty acid composition except that flavour intensity was correlated with total saturated fatty acids.



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Influence of weaning on carcass quality, fatty acid composition and meat quality in intensive lamb production systems

  • C. Sañudo (a1) (a2), I. Sierra (a2), J. L. Olleta (a2), L. Martin (a2), M. M. Campo (a2), P. Santolaria (a2), J. D. Wood (a1) and G. R. Nute (a1)...


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