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Influence of season on intramuscular fatty acid profile of Fighting Bulls.

Horcada-Ibáñez, A., Polvillo-Polo, O., Valera-Córdoba, M., and Juárez, M. (2012). "Influence of season on intramuscular fatty acid profile of Fighting Bulls.", Agrociencia, 46(5), pp. 467-479.


In Spain, beef from Fighting Bulls is traditionally consumed during spring and summer festivals but there are few studies on fatty acid profile from of these bulls. The objective this study was to evaluate the effect of slaughtering season and year of breeding on fatty acid composition of Spanish Fighting Bull intramuscular fat. The study was carried out during 2006 and 2009 seasons in Seville and Pamplona using a sampling survey methodology. Fighting Bulls (n=150) were raised in a traditional production system (Spanish dehesa) and slaughtered in spring (Sevilla) and summer (Pamplona). Supraespinatus muscle was collected at the abattoir 24 h postmortem for fatty acid analysis. Statistical analysis included location and slaughter as main effects and livestock farm as random effect. Bulls slaughtered in summer were older (p=0.027) and heavier (p=0.002), but spring carcasses were heavier (p=0.008), with higher yields (p≤0.001), and a higher degree of fatness (p≤0.001). However, meat from bulls slaughtered in spring showed lower (p=0.001) intramuscular fat content, leading to a higher (p≤0.001) polyunsaturated/ saturated fatty acid ratio. Intramuscular fat showed seasonal differences (p≤0.05) in most fatty acid concentrations. There were significant interactions (p≤0.05) between the slaughter season and years for several fatty acids, total lipids and monounsaturated. Conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) levels were similar to those found in conventional beef. The higher monounsaturated fatty acids and CLA content in bulls slaughtered at summer could be partly due to mobilization of polyunsaturated fatty acids in this period. Thus, although the intramuscular fat of Spanish Fighting Bulls may have a high nutritional value, the great influence of the rearing season and slaughter system should be considered when fatty acid composition is concerned.

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