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Carcass traits, meat quality and muscle enzyme activity in strains of Merino wether hoggets

Hopkins, D.L., Hatcher, S., Pethick, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677 and Thornberry, K.J. (2005) Carcass traits, meat quality and muscle enzyme activity in strains of Merino wether hoggets. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 45 (10). pp. 1225-1230.

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The carcass characteristics, meat quality and specific muscle enzyme activity were studied in 342 Merino wether hoggets representing 7 bloodlines comprising 2 superfine lines, 2 fine wool lines, 2 medium wool lines and 1 broad wool line over 2 years. All animals were supplemented at pasture for 5 weeks before slaughter with high energy pellets. Fat levels in the superfine bloodlines based on total tissue depth over the 12th rib, 110 mm from the midline were much greater than in other lines. This also applied to fat depth measured over the longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LL) muscle for one of the superfine bloodlines when adjusted to the same carcass weight. Differences in LL muscle dimensions were minor, although the broad wool bloodline had a lower depth which translated into a smaller cross-sectional area. Significant differences were detected between bloodlines for muscle pH with superfine animals having the highest values for the LL. The differences for the semitendinosus muscle were less consistent between bloodlines, but of the bloodlines the broad wool line had the lowest pH levels in both muscles. There were few differences between bloodlines for the meat colour parameters measured on the LL. In the second year, muscle samples were taken to determine the activity of fructose 1,6-bis-phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), isocitrate dehydrogenase (ICDH) and the concentration of myoglobin, indicators of anaerobic and aerobic metabolism. Samples from 50 carcasses were selected from a medium wool and a superfine bloodline (2 × 25) based on LL muscle pH values. Of the enzymes, only ICDH activity was different between the 2 bloodlines, with muscle from the medium wool bloodline having a significantly higher activity than muscle from the superfine bloodline. This indicates a greater aerobic capacity in the muscle of the medium wool bloodline. The significantly lower muscle pH for medium wool bloodline was mirrored by a lower glycolytic capacity expressed as the LDH/ICDH ratio with a correlation of 0.46. Thus in this dataset, a high pH is related to a change in energy metabolism as reflected by the aerobic/anaerobic capacity of the muscle and this may be a reflection of a change in fibre type frequency, but this remains to be validated

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © CSIRO 2005
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