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There is a commitment by the European pig sector to ban surgical castration of male piglets in the European Union in 2018. One alternative to castration is to raise entire male pigs, with an increased risk of boar taint. A field study was performed to: (1) evaluate inter- and intra-farm variation in boar taint prevalence, (2) investigate factors measured at slaughter influencing boar taint and (3) evaluate the relationship between sensorial scoring by a trained panel and the concentration of boar taint components. From 34 farms, neck fat samples were collected from all entire male pigs in at least two slaughter batches per farm (78 batches; 9167 animals). In addition to olfactory boar taint analysis, data were also collected on fresh skin lesions (score 0 to 3) at the slaughter line, slaughter weight, lean meat percentage, duration of transport, time spent in lairage, total delivery duration, day length, shortening of days and outdoor mean temperature. Using the hot iron method, neck fat samples were scored (eight-point scale) for boar taint. Average boar taint prevalence (score ≥3) was 5.6±2.5% and the mean difference between the maximum and minimum prevalence per farm was 4.3±3.2%. Androstenone (AND), skatole (SKA) and indole concentrations were measured for a subset (n=254) of the samples. According to binomial univariate mixed models, entire male pigs with a higher skin lesion score had higher odds of having boar taint (P=0.031), as did fatter entire male pigs (P<0.001). In the binomial multivariate mixed model lean meat percentage (P<0.001) and outdoor mean temperature (P=0.005) remained as only significant factors. Based on our results, we can conclude that these statistically significant at least partially influence the prevalence of boar taint. According to the binomial univariate mixed models SKA concentration in liquid fat seems a better predictor for boar taint than AND. There were no significant synergetic effects between boar taint compounds.
The present study aims to assess the effects of pig’s genotype (lean v. fatty) and dietary protein level (control v. reduced) on intramuscular fat (IMF) content, fatty acid composition and fibre profile of psoas major, a representative red muscle in pig’s carcass scarcely studied relative to white longissimus lumborum. The experiment was conducted on 40 intact male pigs (20 Alentejana purebred and 20 Large White×Landrace×Pietrain crossbred) from 60 to 93 kg of live weight. Pigs were divided and allocated to four dietary groups: control protein diet equilibrated for lysine (17.5% of CP and 0.7% of lysine) and reduced protein diet (RPD) not equilibrated for lysine (13.1% of crude protein and 0.4% of lysine) within a 2×2 factorial arrangement (two genotypes and two diets). Alentejana purebred had higher IMF content (15.7%) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) (8.9%), whereas crossbred pigs had higher PM weight (46.3%) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) (20.1%). The genotype also affected colour with higher lightness (15.1%) and yellowness (33.8%) and lower redness (9.9%) scores in crossbred pigs. In line with this, fatty pigs displayed more oxidative fibres (29.5%), whilst lean pigs had more glycolytic (54.4%). Relative to fatty acids, RPD increased MUFA (5.2%) and SFA (3.2%) but decreased PUFA (14.8%). Ultimately, RPD increased IMF content (15.7%) in the red muscle under study, with no impact on glycolytic to oxidative fibre type transformation.
β-Adrenergic agonists (β-AA) are non-hormonal growth promoters which promote muscle hypertrophy in supplemented animals. The effects of two β-AA in combination with the immunocastration technique on the performance and carcass traits were evaluated using 96 feedlot Nellore males in a randomized complete block design with two sex conditions (immunocastrated (IC) v. non-castrated (NC)) and three treatments: CON (no β-agonists added), RH (300 mg of ractopamine hydrochloride/day, for 33 days) or ZH (80 mg of zilpaterol·hydrochloride animal/day for 30 days, removed 3 days for required withdrawal period). The trial was carried for 100 days where in the first 70 days animals did not receive β-AA (phase 1) and during the last 30 days they were treated with β-AA (phase 2). The performance and ultrasound measurements of longissimus muscle area (LMA), backfat thickness (BFT) and rump fat thickness (RFT) were evaluated in both phases. No sex condition v. treatment interactions were observed for any trait. The NC animals had higher average daily gain (ADG) and final BW than the IC animals, but they did not differ in dry matter intake (DMI) and feed efficiency (gain to feed). The NC animals showed greater LMA (P=0.0001) and hot carcass weight (P=0.0006), and smaller BFT (P=0.0007), RFT (P=0.0039) and percentage of kidney, pelvic and heart fat (P<0.0001) when compared with IC animals. The animals fed ZH showed greater ADG (P=0.0002), G : F (P<0.0001) and dressing per cent (P=0.0136) than those fed RH and CON diets. No differences in BW and DMI were observed. A interaction between treatment and time on feed was observed for LMA and BFT, in which the animals fed ZH diet showed greater LMA (P<0.01) and lower BFT (P<0.01) at 100 days than the animals fed RH and CON diets, whereas RH and CON diets did not differ. Immunocastration decreases muscle development and increases carcass finishing. In contrast, β-AA increases muscle and decreases fat deposition. The ZH has a higher action on the muscle metabolism than animals fed RH diet. However, RH diet achieves a better balance because it has an intermediary performance between non-supplemented and ZH animals and does not decrease the carcass fat.
The study determined the activities of creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in transported cattle as indicators of welfare and how they relate to beef quality. A total of 219 (n=219) (85 Beefmaster, 48 Charolaise, 32 Holstein-Friesian and 54 nondescript) cattle brought to the abattoir for slaughter were used in the study. Disposable vacutainer tubes with anticoagulant (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) were used to collect 4 ml of blood samples to determine the activities of CK and LDH. The measurements of pHu and colour coordinates (L*, a* and b*) were carried out at 48 h after slaughter on the representative samples of muscularis longissimuss thoracis et. lumborum (LTL). Longer distance travelled by cattle had a significant effect (P<0.05) on ultimate pH (pHu), lightness (L*), redness (a*) and Warner–Bratzler Shear Force. Animals that travelled for 366, 877 and 1012 km had higher CK (>3000 to 5000) and those that travelled for 1263 km had lower CK activities (1000). The activities of LDH were observed in cattle that travelled for 366 and 1012 km (7000) and for those that travelled for 877 and 922 km (6000). Results of the principal component analysis showed that the first three principal components (PCs) explained about 53% of the total variability. The first PC was correlated with meat quality attributes (pHu, Tm, a* and b* values). The activities of CK and LDH were related and useful to define the second PC. However, CK and LDH were not related to beef quality. Therefore, CK and LDH can be used as indicators of welfare in slaughter cattle but cannot be used to predict the quality of meat.
The beef industry must become more responsive to the changing market place and consumer demands. An essential part of this is quantifying a consumer’s perception of the eating quality of beef and their willingness to pay for that quality, across a broad range of demographics. Over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland and France each tasted seven beef samples and scored them for tenderness, juiciness, flavour liking and overall liking. These scores were weighted and combined to create a fifth score, termed the Meat Quality 4 score (MQ4) (0.3×tenderness, 0.1×juiciness, 0.3×flavour liking and 0.3×overall liking). They also allocated the beef samples into one of four quality grades that best described the sample; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day or premium. After the completion of the tasting panel, consumers were then asked to detail, in their own currency, their willingness to pay for these four categories which was subsequently converted to a proportion relative to the good-every-day category (P-WTP). Consumers also answered a short demographic questionnaire. The four sensory scores, the MQ4 score and the P-WTP were analysed separately, as dependant variables in linear mixed effects models. The answers from the demographic questionnaire were included in the model as fixed effects. Overall, there were only small differences in consumer scores and P-WTP between demographic groups. Consumers who preferred their beef cooked medium or well-done scored beef higher, except in Poland, where the opposite trend was found. This may be because Polish consumers were more likely to prefer their beef cooked well-done, but samples were cooked medium for this group. There was a small positive relationship with the importance of beef in the diet, increasing sensory scores by about 4% in Poland and Northern Ireland. Men also scored beef about 2% higher than women for most sensory scores in most countries. In most countries, consumers were willing to pay between 150 and 200% more for premium beef, and there was a 50% penalty in value for unsatisfactory beef. After quality grade, by far the greatest influence on P-WTP was country of origin. Consumer age also had a small negative relationship with P-WTP. The results indicate that a single quality score could reliably describe the eating quality experienced by all consumers. In addition, if reliable quality information is delivered to consumers they will pay more for better quality beef, which would add value to the beef industry and encourage improvements in quality.
Studies aimed to assess up to what extent farming and transport previous to slaughtering might affect physiology and meat quality in young goat kids are needed, with the ultimate purpose of promoting practices that minimize stress in these animals. In this regard the effects of on-farm management and transport duration on some physiological responses and meat quality parameters in goat kids were assessed. Two farms representing ‘high’ and ‘low’ welfare-friendly management practices were selected. In total, 32 suckling kids were withdrawn from each farm, transported by road for 2 or 6 h, and then slaughtered. Blood samples were collected both on-farm and in the slaughterhouse, and biochemistry, cell counts and haematocrit were determined. After slaughtering, carcass quality parameters were measured. Longissimus dorsi muscle was dissected and pH, colour parameters, water holding capacity and shear force were measured throughout 8-day ageing period. Results indicate that, regardless its duration, transport caused significant effects on some blood parameters suggesting stress in live animals, like glucose, cortisol or creatine kinase. Despite the marked stress status in animals, this condition was not decisively reflected on L. dorsi quality parameters, but some effects were observed regarding fat cover in carcasses and colour parameters. The results suggest that postmortem changes throughout ageing were more decisive in terms of meat quality than stressful management either on-farm or during transport.
Omics research has indicated that heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) is a potential biomarker of meat quality. However, the specific changes and the potential role of HSP70 in postmortem meat quality development need to be further defined. In this study, Arbor Acres broiler chickens (n=126) were randomly categorized into three treatment groups of unstressed control (C), 0.5-h transport (T) and subsequent water shower spray following transport (T/W). Each treatment consisted of six replicates with seven birds each. The birds were transported according to a designed protocol. The pectoralis major (PM) muscles of the transport-stressed broilers were categorized as normal and pale, soft and exudative (PSE)-like muscle samples according to L* and pH24 h values to test the expression and location of HSP70. Results revealed that the activities of plasma creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase increased significantly (P<0.05) in normal and PSE-like muscle samples after transportation. The mRNA expression of HSP70 in normal muscle samples increased significantly (P<0.05) compared with that in the controls after stress. The protein expression of HSP70 increased significantly in normal muscle samples and decreased significantly (P<0.05) in PSE-like muscles. Immuno-fluorescence showed that HSP70 was present in the cytoplasm and on surface membranes of PM muscle cells in the normal samples following stress. Meanwhile, HSP70 was present on the surface membranes and extracellular matrix but was barely visible in the cytoplasm of the PSE-like samples. Principal component analysis showed high correlations between HSP70 and meat quality and stress indicators. In conclusion, this research suggests that the variation in HSP70 expression may provide a novel insight into the pathways underlying meat quality development.
In grass-based beef production systems (PS), early maturing (EM) breed types may be preferable to late maturing (LM) breed types in achieving adequate carcass fat cover. Biochemical and organoleptic characteristics of muscle from suckler bulls were investigated in EM and LM (n=28/breed) assigned to one of two PS (ad libitum concentrates and grass silage to slaughter (C) or ad libitum silage plus 2 kg concentrate daily during winter followed by 99 days at pasture and then an indoor finishing period on C (GSPC)) in a 2 breed type×2 PS factorial arrangement of treatments. Bulls were managed to have a common target carcass weight of 380 kg. Intramuscular fat (IMF) content was higher (P<0.05) for EM than LM, and for C than GSPC bulls. Collagen solubility was higher (P<0.05) for C than GSPC bulls. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and phosphofructokinase activities were higher (P<0.05) for LM than EM. Isocitrate dehydrogenase activity and the Type I myosin heavy chain (MyHC) proportion were higher (P<0.05) for EM than LM. The LDH activity and the Type IIX MyHC proportion were higher (P<0.05) for C than GSPC bulls. Sensory ratings for tenderness and juiciness were higher (P<0.01) for beef from EM than LM while sensory ratings for tenderness, flavour liking and overall liking were higher (P<0.001) for C than for GSPC bulls. Differences in sensory quality were largely eliminated when adjusted for IMF. Overall, carcass fat scores, IMF and sensory scores were higher in EM than LM and in C than GSPC bulls but most differences in sensory quality could be attributed to differences in IMF.
Tannins have long been considered ‘anti-nutritional’ factors in monogastric nutrition, shown to reduce feed intake and palatability. However, recent studies revealed that compared with condensed tannins, hydrolysable tannins (HT) appear to have far less impact on growth performance, but may be inhibitory to the total activity of caecal bacteria. This in turn could reduce microbial synthesis of skatole and indole in the hindgut of entire male pigs (EM). Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the impact of a group of dietary HT on growth performance, carcass traits and boar taint compounds of group housed EM. For the study, 36 Swiss Large White boars were assigned within litter to three treatment groups. Boars were offered ad libitum one of three finisher diets supplemented with 0 (C), 15 (T15) or 30 g/kg (T30) of HT from day 105 to 165 of age. Growth performance, carcass characteristics, boar taint compounds in the adipose tissue and cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzymes CYP2E1, CYP1A2 and CYP2A19 gene expression in the liver was assessed. Compared with C, feed efficiency but not daily gain and daily feed intake was lower (P<0.05) in T15 and T30 boars. Except for the percentage carcass weight loss during cooling, which tended (P<0.10) to be greater in T30 than C and T15, carcass characteristics were not affected by the diets. In line with the numerically lower androstenone level, bulbourethral and salivary glands of T30 boars were lighter (P<0.05) than of T15 with intermediate values for C. Indole level was lower (P<0.05) in the adipose tissue of T30 than C pigs with intermediate levels in T15. Skatole levels tended (P<0.10) to be lower in T30 and C than T15 pigs. Hepatic gene expression of CYP isoenzymes did not differ between-treatment groups, but was negatively correlated (P<0.05) with androstenone (CYP2E1 and CYP1A2), skatole (CYP2E1, CYP2A) and indole (CYP2A) level. In line with the numerically highest androstenone and skatole concentrations, boar taint odour but not flavour was detected by the panellists in loins from T15 compared with loins from C and T30 boars. These results provide evidence that HT affected metabolism of indolic compounds and androstenone and that they affected the development of accessory sex glands. However, the effects were too small to be detected by sensory evaluation.
Feed restriction after weaning is widely used in meat rabbit farms to promote health and reduce mortality, but this practice impacts negatively on rabbit growth and slaughter performance. This study compared a 3-week post-weaning feed restriction with ad libitum medicated feeding, evaluating effects on feed intake, growth, health, carcass and meat quality of rabbits of two genotypes: Italian White pure breed and Hycole hybrid×Italian White crossbred. A total of 512 rabbits at 36 days of age, of both sexes and two genotypes, were divided into four homogeneous groups assigned, from 36 to 57 days of age, to different feeding programmes (FP): restricted non-medicated (R-N), ad libitum non-medicated (L-N), restricted medicated (R-M) and ad libitum medicated (L-M). The diets were medicated with oxytetracycline (1540 mg/kg) and colistin sulphate (240 mg/kg). The restriction, performed by giving 70, 80 and 90 g/day of feed for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd week, was followed by ad libitum feeding in the successive 5 weeks, up to slaughter at 92 days of age. Restricted feeds were ingested at a level of 64% of the feed intake recorded in the ad libitum fed rabbits; it was significantly associated, regardless of medication and rabbit genotype, with a lower feed intake (−22 to −24 g dry matter/day) during the entire experiment, compensatory growth and a lower feed conversion ratio in the ad libitum period, and a lower final live weight (−150 g) than ad libitum feeding (P<0.001). During restriction, mortality was lower in the restricted rabbits (6.25%, 5.47% v. 12.5%, 14.8% for R-N, R-M, L-N and L-M; P<0.05), whereas in the ad libitum period mortality did not differ among the groups (9.23%, 9.90%, 11.0% and 4.59% for R-N, R-M, L-N and L-M). Dressing out percentage was not affected by FP or genotype; heavier carcasses were produced by rabbits fed ad libitum (+100 g; P<0.001) and crossbred rabbits (+122 g; P<0.001). Restriction did not alter meat quality, except for a tendency towards a higher cooking loss and less fat; crossbred meat was higher in L* (+1.3; P<0.01) and b* (+0.51; P<0.05) colour indexes and tenderness (−0.14 kg/cm2; P<0.05) than pure breed meat. Under the conditions of this study, a 3-week restricted feeding after weaning resulted to be a suitable alternative, also for high growth potential genotypes, to the antibiotics to preserve rabbit health. The production of lighter carcasses could be compensated partly by the lower feed conversion ratio showed by restricted rabbits.
Consumption of chicken meat enriched with bioactive compounds such as n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAn-3), vitamin E (vE) and selenium (Se) can help prevent many diseases and can be used to deliver those substances to humans. This might be of importance as chicken meat consumption is increasing worldwide. The effects of enriching chicken meat with PUFAn-3, vE and Se through dietary interventions were studied in rats. Four groups of Ross 308 female broilers from day 22 to day 35 of age were fed control diet (L) that contained lard and 80 mg vE and 0.3 mg Se/kg, or diets that contained rape seeds and fish oil with the same level of Se and vE as in the control diet, the same level of Se as in the control and 150 mg vE/kg, or 150 mg of vE and 0.7 mg Se/kg. Broiler carcasses were boiled, deboned, lyophilized and pooled by group. Boiled edible components of chicken carcass (BECC) were included (240 g/kg) in the diets fed to four groups of ten 10-week-old Wistar male rats for 8 weeks. Inclusion of BECCs modulated dietary fatty acid profile in the rat diets. Feeding these diets did not influence parameters related to growth or relative weights of internal organs in the rats. Feeding BECCs with lower PUFAn-6/n-3 decreased the n-6/n-3 ratio in the rat brain and liver, and increased the proportion of docosahexaenoic acid in the brain lipids. Liver cholesterol level was similar among the experimental groups, whereas the concentration of vE in the liver of rats fed BECC with increased vE levels was higher than that in the rats fed BECC with the basal vE level. Haematological and biochemical parameters in blood were within the normal range for rats, but a few rats showed a tendency towards increased levels because of the higher vE and Se level. The health-promoting effect of feeding rats PUFAn-3 enriched BECC was more pronounced when an increased dietary level of vE was used, but the increased level of Se did not provide the rats with additional benefits. Thus, the findings indicate that BECC enriched with PUFAn-3 and vE by a dietary intervention is a functional food with great potential of implementation.
Quantifying consumer responses to beef across a broad range of demographics, nationalities and cooking methods is vitally important for any system evaluating beef eating quality. On the basis of previous work, it was expected that consumer scores would be highly accurate in determining quality grades for beef, thereby providing evidence that such a technique could be used to form the basis of and eating quality grading system for beef. Following the Australian MSA (Meat Standards Australia) testing protocols, over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia tasted cooked beef samples, then allocated them to a quality grade; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day and premium. The consumers also scored beef samples for tenderness, juiciness, flavour-liking and overall-liking. The beef was sourced from all countries involved in the study and cooked by four different cooking methods and to three different degrees of doneness, with each experimental group in the study consisting of a single cooking doneness within a cooking method for each country. For each experimental group, and for the data set as a whole, a linear discriminant function was calculated, using the four sensory scores which were used to predict the quality grade. This process was repeated using two conglomerate scores which are derived from weighting and combining the consumer sensory scores for tenderness, juiciness, flavour-liking and overall-liking, the original meat quality 4 score (oMQ4) (0.4, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3) and current meat quality 4 score (cMQ4) (0.3, 0.1, 0.3, 0.3). From the results of these analyses, the optimal weightings of the sensory scores to generate an ‘ideal meat quality 4 score (MQ4)’ for each country were calculated, and the MQ4 values that reflected the boundaries between the four quality grades were determined. The oMQ4 weightings were far more accurate in categorising European meat samples than the cMQ4 weightings, highlighting that tenderness is more important than flavour to the consumer when determining quality. The accuracy of the discriminant analysis to predict the consumer scored quality grades was similar across all consumer groups, 68%, and similar to previously reported values. These results demonstrate that this technique, as used in the MSA system, could be used to predict consumer assessment of beef eating quality and therefore to underpin a commercial eating quality guarantee for all European consumers.
Flaxseed is a rich source of α-linolenic acid and phytoestrogens, mainly lignans, whose metabolites (enterodiol and enterolactone) can affect estrogen functions. The present study evaluated the influence of dietary flaxseed supplementation on reproductive performance and egg characteristics (fatty acids, cholesterol, lignans and isoflavones) of 40 Hy-Line hens (20/group) fed for 23 weeks a control diet or the same diet supplemented with 10% of extruded flaxseed. The flaxseed diet had approximately three times the content of lignans (2608.54 ng/g) as the control diet, mainly secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (1534.24 v. 494.72 ng/g). When compared with the control group, hens fed flaxseed showed a similar deposition rate (72.0% v. 73.9%) and egg yield. Furthermore, there was no effect of flaxseed on the main chemical composition of the egg and on its cholesterol content. Estradiol was higher in the plasma of the control group (1419.00 v. 1077.01 pg/ml) probably due to the effect of flaxseed on phytoestrogen metabolites. The plasma lignans were higher in hens fed flaxseed, whereas isoflavones were lower, mainly due to the lower equol value (50.52 v. 71.01 ng/ml). A similar trend was shown in eggs: the flaxseed group had higher level of enterodiol and enterolactone, whereas the equol was lower (198.31 v. 142.02 ng/g yolk). Secoisolariciresinol was the main lignan in eggs of the flaxseed group and its concentration was three times higher then control eggs. Flaxseed also improved the n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids of eggs (3.25 v. 0.92 mg/g egg), mainly DHA, however, its oxidative status (thiobarbituric reactive substances) was negatively affected. In conclusion, 10% dietary flaxseed did not affect the productive performance of hens or the yolk cholesterol concentration, whereas the lignans and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content of eggs improved. Further details on the competition between the different dietary phytoestrogens and their metabolites (estrogen, equol, enterodiol and enterolactone) should be investigated.
The production of pork with moderate amounts of intramuscular fat (IMF) without an increase in subcutaneous fat is highly desirable for the meat industry. Several studies indicate that dietary protein reduction during the growing–finishing period of pigs enhances IMF content, but its consequence on carcass fat deposition is still contradictory. In this study, we hypothesized that the effects of reduced protein diets (RPD), corrected or not with the limiting amino acid lysine, on subcutaneous fat deposition from pigs with distinct genotypes are mediated by adipose membranes biophysical properties. In total, 36 crossbred (Large White×Landrace×Pietrain – a lean genotype) and purebred (Alentejana breed – a fatty genotype) male pigs were randomly assigned to the control group, the RPD group or the reduced protein diet equilibrated for lysine (RPDL) group, allowing a 2×3 factorial arrangement (n=6). Backfat thickness and total fatty acid content were higher in Alentejana relative to crossbred pigs. Although dietary treatments did not change backfat thickness, RPD and RPDL increased total fatty acids content of subcutaneous fat. In order to understand this effect, adipose tissue membranes isolated from pig’s subcutaneous fat were assayed for glycerol permeability and fluidity, using 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene (DPH) and 1-(4-(trimethylamino)-phenyl)-6-phenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene (TMA-DPH) probes. The glycerol transport across adipose membranes was not mediated by aquaglyceroporins and remained unchanged across dietary groups. Regardless of lysine correction, RPD increased membrane fluidity at the hydrocarbon region (lower DPH fluorescence anisotropy) in both genotypes of pigs. This result was associated with a lower ratio between oleic acid and linoleic acid on membrane’s fatty acid composition. Adipose membrane’s cholesterol content was independent from genotype and diet. Taken together, the present study shows that dietary protein reduction is successful in maintaining backfat thickness, although a negative side effect was observed on total fatty acids in subcutaneous fat, which may be due to changes in the fluidity of adipose membranes.
Bull beef production is traditionally based on high concentrate rations fed indoors. Inclusion of grazed grass, which is generally a cheaper feed, would decrease the cost of bull beef production, but may affect beef quality. Accordingly, the organoleptic quality and composition of beef from continental-sired suckler bulls (n=126) assigned to either ad libitum concentrates to slaughter (C), grass silage (GS) ad libitum for 120 days followed by C (GSC) or GS followed by 100 days at pasture and then C (GSPC) and slaughtered at target carcass weights (CW) of 360, 410 or 460 kg was examined. Tenderness, flavour liking and overall liking were lower (P<0.05) for GSPC than for C and GSC. Intramuscular fat content and soluble collagen proportion were lower (P<0.05) for GSPC than GSC which was lower (P<0.05) than C. Soluble collagen proportion was lower (P<0.05) for 460 kg than 410 kg CW, which was lower (P<0.05) than 360 kg CW. Inclusion of a grazing period decreased the ratings of tenderness, flavour liking and overall liking, but age of the bulls at slaughter had no clear influence on sensory characteristics.
In practice cattle may be slaughtered at different combinations of age and weight. As each of these factors could affect meat quality traits, the present work aimed to identify which combination can be expected to increase overall meat quality of m. rectus abdominis of Charolais heifers. Totally, 40 heifers were slaughtered either at 26±1 or at 36±1 months of age. Young heifers were sampled at two different carcass weights (349±12 and 394±8 kg). Old heifers were also sampled at two different carcass weights (397±6 and 451±9 kg). The m. rectus abdominis was excised 24 h postmortem to determine metabolic enzyme activities, myosin heavy-chain isoform proportions, lipid contents, collagen content and collagen solubility. Shear force measurements were evaluated on raw and broiled meat after 14 days of ageing. Meat quality traits scored between 0 and 10 by sensory analysis. Increasing slaughter age from 26 to 36 months had no impact on either raw/broiled shear force (0.31⩽P⩽0.47) and/or meat quality traits (0.62⩽P⩽0.91) or on physicochemical properties of heifer’s meat samples. Increasing carcass weight for a similar slaughter age of 26 months had also impact neither on meat quality traits (0.52⩽P⩽0.91) nor on muscular properties. On the contrary, increasing carcass weight for a similar slaughter age of 36 months had induced a decrease of muscular shear force (raw muscle; P=0.009) and a concomitant decrease of total collagen content (P=0.03). Nevertheless, no significant impact on meat quality traits was revealed by the sensorial panel (0.13⩽P⩽0.49). Metabolic enzyme activities (0.13⩽P⩽0.86) and myosin heavy-chain proportions (0.13⩽P⩽0.96) were not significantly impacted by slaughter age and carcass weight. Thus, the impact of increasing carcass weight and/or slaughter age in young Charolais heifers has a limited impact on meat quality traits and associated muscular characteristics. Modulating heifer’s cycles (age and/or carcass weight in the studied range) appears to be a way to answer to the numerous marketing chains, without penalising meat quality traits.
Cottonseed hulls are co-product of agribusiness that can be used in beef cattle rations, decreasing the cost of feed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of different cottonseed hull levels, display and ageing times on visual and sensorial meat acceptability. Longissimus thoracis muscle from 30 crossbred young bulls finished on three high-grain diets (210, 270 or 330 g/kg of cottonseed hulls on dry matter, respectively) were visually evaluated during 10 days of display by 37 appraisers. Tenderness, flavour and overall acceptability from the three diets and three ageing times (1, 7 and 14 days) were evaluated by 120 consumers. On the visual study, time of display (P⩽0.001) was a more significant factor than diet. Cottonseed hull level had no effect on sensorial analyses, with tenderness acceptability improving with ageing time (P⩽0.001). Results indicate the possibility of using the three studied levels of cottonseed without damaging consumer meat acceptability.
Many studies have shown that milk fat globule (MFG) diameter varies in dairy cows in relation to diet and/or breed. However, the mechanisms governing the size of the fat globules remain hypothetical. Our objective was to determine the variable biochemical characteristics (fat, protein, fatty acids (FA), casein and calcium (Ca) contents) between individual milk which differed in both MFG diameter and membrane content, in order to speculate about the links between milk synthesis and MFG secretion. With this aim, we built five databases of individual milk samples from 21 experiments performed between 2003 and 2011. Three of them grouped data from trials dealing with breed/diet effects and included information about: (i) MFG size/membrane, fat and protein contents (n=982), (ii) previous parameters plus FA profile (n=529) and (iii) previous parameters plus true protein composition and calcium contents (n=101). A hierarchical clustering analysis performed on these three databases yielded four groups differing in the MFG characteristics. We observed significant differences among groups for the following parameters: (i) fat content and fat : protein ratio; (ii) de novo and polyunsaturated FA contents; (iii) Ca contents. These relationships could result from potential process regulating the synthesis and secretion of MFG: (i) the apical membrane turnover for MFG secretion and (ii) cytoplasmic lipid droplet formation in the lactocyte during its migration from the basal to the apical pole. The two other databases grouped data from trials dealing with milking frequency (n=211), milking kinetics and milk type (residual v. cisternal) (n=224). They were used to study the relationships between the size of the MFG and milk composition for high native fat contents (from 60 up to 100 g/kg in residual milks). We observed curvilinear relationships between the size of the MFG and fat content, as well as with the fat : protein ratio. This result suggests that MFG diameter reaches a threshold but mechanisms are still unknown.
Efficiency in animal protein production can be defined in different ways, for example the amount of human-digestible essential amino acids (HDEAA) in the feed ration relative to the amount of HDEAA in the animal products. Cattle production systems are characterised by great diversity and a wide variety of feeds and feed ration compositions, due to ruminants’ ability to digest fibrous materials inedible to humans such as roughage and by-products from the food and biofuel industries. This study examined the upgrading of protein quality through cattle by determining the quantity of HDEAA in feeds and animal products and comparing different milk and beef production systems. Four different systems for milk and beef production were designed, a reference production system for milk and beef representing typical Swedish production systems today and three alternative improved systems: (i) intensive cattle production based on maize silage, (ii) intensive systems based on food industry by-products for dairy cows and high-quality forage for beef cattle, and (iii) extensive systems based on forage with only small amounts of concentrate. In all four production systems, the quantity of HDEAA in the products (milk and meat) generally exceeded the quantity of HDEAA in the feeds. The intensive production models for beef calves generally resulted in output of the same magnitude as input for most HDEAA. However, in beef production based on calves from dairy cows, the intensive rearing systems resulted in lower output than input of HDEAA. For the extensive models, the amounts of HDEAA in meat were of the same magnitude as the amounts in the feeds. The extensive models with beef calves from suckler cows resulted in higher output in meat than input in feeds for all HDEAA. It was concluded that feeding cattle plants for production of milk and meat, instead of using the plants directly as human food, generally results in an upgrading of both the quantity and quality of protein, especially when extensive, forage-based production models are used. The results imply that the key to efficiency is the utilisation of human-inedible protein by cattle and justifies their contribution to food production, especially in regions where grasslands and/or forage production has comparative benefits over plant food production. By fine-tuning estimation of the efficiency of conversion from human-edible protein to HDEAA, comparisons of different sources of protein production may be more complete and the magnitude of amino acid upgrading in plants through cattle more obvious.
Responses to changes in dietary Lys and other essential amino acid (AA) concentrations were evaluated in 480 male and female broilers originating from two lines divergently selected for high (pHu+) or low (pHu−) ultimate pH (pHu) of breast muscle. The two genetic lines were fed with two grower isoenergetic diets differing in both true digestible Lys (control=10.2 g/kg and experimental=7.0 g/kg) and amounts of other essential AA calculated in relation to Lys, which were sufficient for the control diet or in excess for the experimental diet. There were six repetitions per treatment. Birds were weighed individually at days 0, 21, 28 and 43. Feed consumption was recorded per pen and feed conversion was calculated over the growing period. The physical activity and walking ability of broilers were recorded during the whole rearing period. Breast and leg yield, and abdominal fat percentage were measured at 43 days of age, as were pHu, color, drip and cooking loss, Warner–Bratzler shear force, and curing-cooking yield of the breast Pectoralis major and pHu of the thigh Sartorius muscle. Divergent selection greatly affected most breast meat quality traits without significantly changing growth rate or feed efficiency. When subjected to a variation in dietary intake of AA, birds from the two genotypes responded in a similar way in terms of animal’s growth, feed efficiency, body composition and meat quality traits. Although line and diet did not affect physical or feeding activities of the broilers, a significant effect of line-by-diet interaction was observed on gait score. Contrary to the pHu− birds, the walking ability of pHu+ birds was impaired when fed the control diet that favored growth and breast muscle development and limited storage of carbohydrate in muscle.