Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Variation in instrumental meat quality among 15 muscles from 14-month-old sheep and its relationship with fibre typing

Javier Ithurralde A C , Gianni Bianchi B , Oscar Feed B , Fernando Nan A , Fernando Ballesteros B , Gustavo Garibotto B and Alejandro Bielli A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Area of Histology and Embryology, Department of Morphology and Development, Veterinary Faculty, Lasplaces 1550, Montevideo, Uruguay.

B Research station ‘Dr Mario A. Cassinoni’ (EEMAC) Agronomy Faculty, Route 3, km 363, Paysandú, Uruguay.

C Corresponding author. Email: javiithu@gmail.com

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16013
Submitted: 15 April 2015  Accepted: 16 December 2016   Published online: 28 February 2017

Abstract

The aims of the present study were to describe intermuscular differences in meat-quality traits in 15 young-sheep muscles, and to study the associations between meat quality and fibre typing across all (pooled) muscles as well as in previously selected homogeneous contractile–metabolic groups of muscles (slow-oxidative, intermediate and fast-glycolytic muscles). Meat-quality traits (pH, colour, expressed juice, cooking losses, tenderness and sarcomere length) and fibre typing were evaluated after 24 h of slaughter in 15 muscles from five cross-bred young sheep. Across all the studied muscles, intermuscular differences in some meat-quality traits (pH24, a* and expressed juice) seemed to be mainly explained by muscle oxidative activity, while intermuscular variation in other meat-quality traits (L*, b* and Warner–Bratzler shear force) were mainly explained by differences in fibre sizes. Within fast-glycolytic muscles, larger fast-glycolytic fibres and reduced oxidative activity were generally associated with lower ultimate pH, higher L* values, lower a* values and longer sarcomeres. Within intermediate muscles, larger fast-glycolytic fibres and reduced oxidative activity were generally associated with lower ultimate pH, higher L* values, shorter sarcomeres and reduced meat tenderness. Within slow-oxidative muscles, larger fast-glycolytic fibres and reduced oxidative activity were generally associated with lower amounts of expressed juice, lower a* values and reduced meat tenderness. The present study has contributed to a better understanding of the influence of muscle fibre types on intermuscular meat-quality variation, suggesting that although muscle fibre diversity may explain, at least in part, intermuscular differences in meat quality, these associations can also slightly vary among muscle contractile–metabolic groups.

Additional keywords: fibre types, lamb, meat consumer acceptability, ovine.


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