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

Physicochemical properties of horse meat as affected by breed, sex, age, muscle type and aging period

Ana Kaić A C , Silvester Žgur B , Barbara Luštrek B and Klemen Potočnik B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science and Technology, Svetošimunska cesta 25, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia.

B University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Animal Science, Groblje 3, SI-1230 Domžale, Slovenia.

C Corresponding author. Email: akaic@agr.hr

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN17156
Submitted: 16 March 2017  Accepted: 31 July 2017   Published online: 17 November 2017

Abstract

The effects of breed, sex, age, muscle type (longissimus thoracis; LT vs semitendinosus; ST) and post mortem aging period (14 vs 28 days) on the physicochemical properties of horse meat were investigated. A total of 53 horses (21 females and 32 males) categorised into three groups (cold-blooded, CB; Posavje, P; crossbred, CS) were involved in this study. ST muscles showed a higher pH value, a greater intensity of lightness (L*) and yellowness, higher cooking losses and shear force values, and lower thawing losses than LT muscles. The breed affected only muscle redness, whereas sex had a minor effect on drip loss. An extended aging period was associated with higher thawing and cooking losses. An increase of age was followed by a decrease in pH value and L* value, and an increase in cooking loss and Warner–Bratzler shear force. An investigation of the interaction between muscle and aging showed that ST muscle with an aging period of 14 days had the lowest thawing losses. Among the numerous factors that can influence horse meat quality, the most important ones are age at slaughter and muscle type; these factors must be considered in the routine slaughtering practice and in further research.

Additional keywords: colour, pH value, Warner–Bratzler shear force, water-holding capacity.


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