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Age and nutrition influence the concentrations of three branched chain fatty acids in sheep fat from Australian abattoirs

Watkins, P.J., Rose, G., Salvatore, L., Allen, D., Tucman, D., Warner, R.D., Dunshea, F.R. and Pethick, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677 (2010) Age and nutrition influence the concentrations of three branched chain fatty acids in sheep fat from Australian abattoirs. Meat Science, 86 (3). pp. 594-599.

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The characteristic mutton odour, associated with the cooked meat of older sheep, can be problematic for some consumers who find the odour disagreeable. Branch chain fatty acids (BCFAs) are considered to be the main determinants of mutton odour. In this study, the aim was to identify the factors influencing the BCFA content of animals at abattoirs in Australia. Samples of subcutaneous fat from over the chump (gluteus medius) were collected from 533 sheep carcasses at abattoirs in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. The carcasses were from sheep differing in age, gender, breed and nutrition. The concentrations of three branched chain fatty acids (BCFAs); namely, 4-methyloctanoic (MOA), 4-ethyloctanoic (EOA) and 4-methylnonanoic acids (MNA), were determined. Statistical modelling showed that, with pre-slaughter nutrition in the model as a random term, BCFA concentrations could be used for discriminating the age of sheep. Fat samples from lamb carcasses had lower MOA and EOA concentrations and a higher concentration of MNA in comparison to hogget and mutton (P< 0.05). When nutrition was excluded as a random effect from the statistical model, the MOA and MNA concentrations did not differentiate between lamb, hogget and mutton whereas, for EOA, lamb had a lower concentration than mutton (P< 0.05) with hogget intermediate. An interaction existed between age and gender (P< 0.05) where female lambs had lower EOA concentrations relative to the mutton but not for castrates.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: (c) Elsevier
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