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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 50(12)

Quality of lamb meat from the Information Nucleus Flock

R. D. Warner A B K L, R. H. Jacob C, J. E. Hocking Edwards D, M. McDonagh E, K. Pearce F, G. Geesink G, G. Kearney H, P. Allingham I, D. L. Hopkins J and D. W. Pethick F

A Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.
B Livestock Production Sciences, Department of Primary Industries, 600 Sneydes Road, Vic. 3030, Australia.
C Department of Agriculture and Food WA, Baron Hay Court, South Perth, WA 6151, Australia.
D SARDI Livestock Systems, Struan Research Centre, PO Box 613, Naracoorte, SA 5271, Australia.
E Biosciences Research Division, Department of Primary Industries, LaTrobe University, Bundoora, Vic. 3075, Australia.
F School of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.
G School of Rural and Environmental Science, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.
H 36 Paynes Road, Hamilton, Vic. 3300, Australia.
I CSIRO Division of Livestock Industries, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, 306 Carmody Road, St Lucia, Qld 4067, Australia.
J Industry & Investment NSW, Centre for Red Meat and Sheep Development, Cowra, NSW 2794, Australia.
K Present address: CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences, Private Bag 16, Werribee, Vic. 3030, Australia.
L Corresponding author. Email: robyn.warner@csiro.au

Animal Production Science 50(12) 1123-1134 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN10129
Submitted: 25 July 2010  Accepted: 26 October 2010   Published: 23 November 2010

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The effects of production and processing factors on tenderness, and colour of lamb meat produced from 7 locations as part of the Australian Sheep Industry CRC’s Information Nucleus flock were investigated, using data from 2052 lambs slaughtered in 2007. At 24 h post-slaughter, samples of m. longissimus lumborum (LL) and m. semimembranosus (SM) were collected for measurement of intramuscular fat (IMF), myoglobin, iron and copper and fresh meat colour (L*, a*, b*) and pH at 24 h measured on the LL. pH and temperature measurements made pre-rigor were used to calculate the pH at 18°C. Tenderness was measured by LL shear force at days 1 (SF1) and 5 (SF5) post-slaughter, the shear force difference (SF-diff) and SM compression and collagen concentration were determined. Retail colour stability was assessed using over-wrapped LL under simulated retail display for 3 days, according to the change in the oxymyoglobin/metmyoglobin ratio. All traits were affected by flock and date of slaughter (P < 0.001). After 4 days of ageing, 70–95% of the LL samples from all flocks, except for one, had acceptable tenderness for consumers based on their shear force. Low IMF, high LL pH at 18°C and high pH at 24 h increased SF1 and SF5 and also had an effect on SF-diff (P < 0.001). The retail colour of 44.8% of the samples on day 3 of retail display were lower than acceptable. Retail colour was influenced by IMF, pH18 and the concentration of iron and copper (P < 0.001). In conclusion, breeding and management practices that increase muscle IMF levels and reduce ultimate pH values and processing practices that result in moderate rates of pH fall post-slaughter, improve the tenderness of lamb. Extension of retail colour stability may be antagonistic to traits associated with tenderness and nutritional traits, particularly IMF and mineral levels.


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