Meat eating and nutritional quality of lambs sired by high and low muscle density rams

Eleri Thomas*, Janet Roden, William Haresign, Ian R. Richardson, NR Lambe, N Clelland, G.E. Gardner, Nigel D. Scollan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Intramuscular fat (IMF) content affects eating and nutritional quality of lamb meat. Muscle density measured by computer tomography is an in vivo proxy measure of IMF content that affects eating and nutritional quality of lamb meat. Lambs sired by high muscle density (HMD) or low muscle density (LMD) rams, selected for slaughter on commercial criteria were measured for meat quality and nutritional traits. A restricted maximum likelihood model was used to compare lamb traits. Additionally, regression analysis of sire estimated breeding value (EBV) for muscle density was performed for each meat quality trait. Muscle density EBV had a negative regression with IMF content (P < 0.001). For each unit increase in muscle density EBV, there was a significant decrease in loin (− 1.69 mg/100 g fresh weight) and topside IMF (− 0.03 mg/100 g fresh weight). Muscle density EBV had a negative regression with grouped saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids concentration (and monounsaturated proportion P < 0.001). Muscle density EBV had a negative regression with loin sensory traits tenderness, juiciness and overall liking and many novel tenderness sensory traits measured (P < 0.05). Selecting for LMD EBV increased IMF content and favourable meat eating quality traits. In contrast, sire muscle density EBV had a positive regression with loin polyunsaturated:saturated fat ratio and grouped polyunsaturated proportion traits (including total polyunsaturated proportion, total omega-6 (n-6) and total omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids (P < 0.001). This is explained by the fact that as sire muscle density EBV increases, polyunsaturated fatty acid proportion increases and the proportion of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acid content decreases. Muscle density EBV had a positive regression with shear force and the novel toughness sensory traits (P < 0.05). Selection for HMD EBV's increased shear force and toughness traits, which is unfavourable for the consumer. Low muscle density sired meat had higher meat colour traits chroma/saturation (+ 0.64, SD 2.30, P = 0.012), redness (+ 0.52, SD 1.91, P = 0.012) and yellowness (+ 0.31, SD 1.49, P = 0.08) compared to HMD sired meat. Selection for LMD could be used within a breeding programme to increase IMF content and enhance both meat colour and improve eating quality parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100136
JournalAnimal
Volume15
Issue number3
Early online date23 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Computer tomography
  • Fatty acid composition
  • Intramuscular fat
  • Sensory
  • Trained taste panel

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