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

Ana Kaić , Silvester Žgur , Barbara Luštrek , Klemen Potočnik


The effects of breed, sex, age, muscle type (longissimus thoracis; LT vs. semitendinosus; ST) and post mortem ageing period (14 vs. 28 days) on the physicochemical properties of horse meat were investigated. A total of 53 horses (21 females and 32 males) categorized 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 ageing 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 ageing showed that ST muscle with an ageing 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.

AN17156  Accepted 31 July 2017

© CSIRO 2017