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Meat and fat quality of unweaned lambs as affected by slaughter weight and breed.

Juárez, M., Horcada, A., Alcalde, M.J., Valera, M., Polvillo, O., and Molina, A. (2009). "Meat and fat quality of unweaned lambs as affected by slaughter weight and breed.", Meat Science, 83(2), pp. 308-313. doi : 10.1016/j.meatsci.2009.05.017  Access to full text

Abstract

Sixty-four male lambs of two Southern Spanish breeds, a dairy breed (Grazalema Merino) and a meat breed (Churra Lebrijana), were used to study the effects of slaughter weight and breed on meat traits and intramuscular and subcutaneous fat composition. Lambs were reared following a traditional production system without weaning and slaughtered when live weight reached 12 kg (suckling) or 20 kg (light). Meat from suckling lambs of both breeds had lower fat and myoglobin contents, and was more tender and had higher scores for sustained juiciness in the sensory analysis. Fat from light lambs had lower C12:0 and C14:0 levels than fat from suckling lambs. Grazalema Merino meat had higher fat and ash contents, and its fat had higher conjugated linoleic acid content than Churra Lebrijana meat.

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