Determination of optimum carcass weight for meat quality and fatty acid composition in fat-tailed male and female Chall lambs.


Department of Research, Breeding and Production of Laboratory Animals, Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), PO Box 31975-148, Karaj, Iran. [Email]


The aim of this study was to determine the optimum carcass weight for meat quality and fatty acid composition in fat-tailed Chall lambs. Thirty lambs (15 male and 15 female) were allotted to three carcass weight groups: (1) light carcass weight (LCW 10-15 kg), (2) moderate carcass weight (MCW 15-20 kg), and (3) heavy carcass weight (HCW 20-25 kg). Back fat thickness and intramuscular fat (IMF) content were greater (P < 0.05) for HCW and female groups than their counterparts, respectively. Drip loss was lower (P < 0.05) for female and HCW lamb groups than male and LCW group, respectively. Female and LCW lambs had lower (P < 0.05) shear force compared with their corresponding male and HCW groups. Meat from LCW and MCW lambs had higher lightness (L* value; 43.6, 43.5 vs. 39.9), while redness (a* value; 13.6, 13.9 vs. 15.4) was greater for HCW and female (13.7 vs. 14.9) lambs compared with their counterparts (P < 0.05). The MCW lambs produced meat with higher overall acceptability compared with other two groups (P < 0.05). The HCW lambs contained lower polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids (P:S) ratio, and n-3 PUFA compared with LCW group (P < 0.05). Results show that as the animal grow faster and achieved HCW, the IMF content also increased mainly as storage triglyceride, while functional fats consisting long-chain omega-3 did not increase proportionately. In addition, the study also demonstrates that using IMF for predicting or assessing meat quality aspects such as juiciness and flavor or the nutritional value of meat relating to health claimable fatty acids would not be appropriate.


Fat-tailed lambs,Fatty acids,Gender,Meat attributes,Slaughter weight,