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Effect of gender on lamb meat quality

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Kjetil Aune


24th General meeting of the European Grassland Federation; Lublin, 2012-06-03–2012-06-07

Lind, Vibeke; Berg, Jan; Eilertsen, Svein Morten; Hersleth, Margrethe; Eik, Lars Olav

In Norway, most lambs are slaughtered at the end of the grazing season in September. An increased demand for fresh meat during the off-season may change this pattern. Castration of male lambs is not permitted, and off-season slaughtering may affect the acceptability of the meat. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of gender on meat quality from Norwegian White Sheep lambs slaughtered in September at the age of five months. Twenty-nine male lambs and 46 female lambs were included in the experiment. Loin samples of M. Longissimus dorsi were analysed for sensory profile. Meat from male lambs had higher scores for the less pleasant sensory attributes of cloying (P < 0.05) and rancid (P = 0.08) flavour, and lower scores for the more pleasant attributes of sour and sweet taste (P < 0.05 for both attributes) compared to meat from female lambs. The differences were more apparent between lambs grazing ryegrass than between lambs fed a concentrate and roughage diet. It is concluded that even at the normal slaughtering time in September, significant differences between genders may occur.