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Doctoral thesis, 2023

There is no easy answer : Factors affecting meat quality in lambs

Stenberg, Elin


This thesis examined the effects of production system, slaughter method, carcass handling procedures and storage method on the quality of meat from intact male lambs. Quality aspects of the meat assessed were carcass quality, meat quality indicators (measured on carcasses), technological meat quality (measured on meat samples) and sensory attributes. Four different production systems were studied: indoor feeding with silage and concentrate; cultivated pasture with or without concentrate feeding; and grazing on semi-natural pasture. Different slaughter methods (small-scale and large-scale), including different stunning methods, chilling regimes and use or not of electrical carcass stimulation, were tested. Storage methods studied included differences between fresh or frozen meat, to evaluate the effect of freezing.  
Differences in feeding intensity in the four production systems affected lamb live weight gain. Carcass weight, dressing percentage, conformation score and fatness score were also affected by production system. On comparing slaughter systems, a difference was found for fatness score, but not for carcass weight or conformation score. Production system and slaughter method both had no effect on pH measurements 24 hours after slaughter. Production system had no effect on meat colour, but slaughter method affected lightness of the meat. Freezing did also cause colour differences. Production system or slaughter method did not result in differences in thawing or cooking loss. Frozen storage caused an increase in total fluid losses (thawing and cooking losses) and some differences in meat colour (redness, lightness). Tenderness (measured as Warner-Bratzler shear force, WBSF) did not differ between the production systems or between the different slaughter methods, but freezing increased WBSF compared with fresh meat. Production system affected some sensory attributes of the meat (resistance to cutting, hay odour, leafy flavour), as did slaughter method (colour appearance, fatty flavour). Storage method caused differences in fatty odour, frying flavour, sour flavour, fatty flavour, liver flavour and juicy, texture and a tendency for a difference for mushy texture.

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2023, number: 2023:24
ISBN: 978-91-8046-100-9, eISBN: 978-91-8046-101-6
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Animal and Dairy Science
    Food Science

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