You are on page 1of 6

Meat Science 88 (2011) 305310

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Meat Science
j o u r n a l h o m e p a g e : w w w. e l s ev i e r. c o m / l o c a t e / m e a t s c i

Effect of gender on meat quality in lamb from extensive and intensive grazing systems when slaughtered at the end of the growing season
Vibeke Lind a,b,, Jan Berg b, Svein Morten Eilertsen a, Margrethe Hersleth c, Lars Olav Eik b
a b c

Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Arctic Agriculture and Land Use Division, Tjtta, N-8860 Tjtta, Norway Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, N-1432 s, Norway Noma Mat AS, Osloveien 1, N-1430 s, Norway

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
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 and the interaction between gender and diet on meat quality from Norwegian White Sheep lambs slaughtered in September. In two different experiments, 22 and 29 males compared with 22 and 46 female lambs, respectively, were used. Loin samples of M. Longissimus dorsi were analysed for sensory prole and fatty acid composition. Meat from male lambs in Experiment 2 had higher scores for cloying and rancid avour, and lower scores for sour and sweet taste compared to meat from female lambs. It is concluded that even at the normal slaughtering time in September, signicant differences between genders may occur. 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 1 June 2010 Received in revised form 20 December 2010 Accepted 11 January 2011 Keywords: Fatty acid composition Norwegian White Sheep Ryegrass Sensory prole

1. Introduction In Norway, lambs traditionally graze with their dams on unimproved mountain pastures during the summer. Most lambs are slaughtered directly off the pasture in the autumn at the age of four to ve months (dny et al., 2005). However, due to variations in live weight, lambs are sometimes fattened on cultivated pastures or supplemented with concentrates to increase their carcass weight before slaughtering. Studies have reported variation in the quality (sensory prole and fatty acid composition) of lamb meat due to several factors, with diet and energy availability being most prominent (Aurousseau et al., 2007; Daz et al., 2005; Priolo, Micol, Agabriel, Prache, & Dranseld, 2002; Saudo, Sanchez, & Alfonso, 1998). Furthermore it has been shown that a nishing period of six weeks on a concentrate-based diet resulted in signicant changes in the fatty acid composition of meat, while three weeks of concentrate feeding on the other hand had little or no effects (Aurousseau et al., 2007; Lind, Berg, Eik, Eilsertsen, et al., 2009). Lamb meat is traditionally sold and consumed in the autumn when most lambs are slaughtered, and the surplus meat is frozen for future sale and consumption. Nevertheless, increased demand for fresh meat at other times of the year has resulted in the increased off-season slaughtering of lambs. Norwegian sheep are known to be seasonal breeders with females mainly in heat in November and December. During this period, male
Corresponding author. Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Arctic Agriculture and Land Use Division, Tjtta, N-8860 Tjtta, Norway. Tel.: +47 93 49 94 36; fax: +47 75 04 40 31. E-mail address: vibeke.lind@bioforsk.no (V. Lind). 0309-1740/$ see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.meatsci.2011.01.008

lambs are seldom slaughtered due to sexual maturation that causes unpleasant meat characteristics (Rousset-Akrim, Young, & Berdagu, 1997). Higher age and weight may also increase the likelihood of offavour in meat from male lambs. When slaughtering took place before the mating season in October/November or after the mating season in March/ April, Mushi, Eik, Srheim, dny, and Haugen (2008) found signicant off-avours in meat from male lambs compared with that of female lambs. Even when lambs were slaughtered in mid-September, minor differences between genders were still found. In other studies, seven-month-old male lambs were reported to have more undesirable meat characteristics compared to younger male lambs (three-months-old) (Rousset-Akrim et al., 1997). In general, Notter, Kelly, and Berry (1991) found only small differences in palatability of meat from rams and wethers weighing below 55 kg body weight (BW) and slaughtered before the age of six months. The effect of gender on meat quality when lambs are slaughtered at the end of the grazing season in September has only been studied at one location in Norway (Mushi, Eik, Srheim, et al., 2008). Hence, the objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that male lambs, independent of location, that were slaughtered directly from the pasture produced meat of similar quality (fatty acid composition and sensory prole) to that of female lambs. 2. Materials and methods Two different experiments were undertaken at various farms in Northern and Mid Norway using Norwegian White Sheep lambs and the experiments are explained in more detail in Lind, Berg, Eik, Eilsertsen et al. (2009) and Lind, Berg, Eik, Mlmann et al. (2009).

306

V. Lind et al. / Meat Science 88 (2011) 305310

2.1. Experiment 1 This experiment was performed at Kvalya in Northern Norway (6939N 1852E) from May to September of 2006. Forty twin lambs (107 days of age in average) with a minimum live BW of 32 kg were randomly separated from the main ock and brought to a cultivated pasture for a fattening period of 25 days. The cultivated pasture consisted of three elds of 1.4, 1.5 and 3.1 ha respectively where the sheep were rotationally grazing. The elds were fertilized with articial fertilizer four weeks prior to grazing. The pastures mainly consisted of the grasses Agrostis cappilaris (39%), Poa pratensis (18%), Phleum pratense (17%) and some herbs (Lind, Berg, Eik, Mlmann, et al., 2009). Of the 40 lambs, 35 from both sexes with a BW of more than 40 kg were selected for slaughter. As a control group, an additional 35 lambs from the main ock grazing in the mountains were selected and sent directly to the local abattoir, together with the fattened lambs. The mountain pasture ranged from 0 to 800 m above sea level. A total of 38 different species were observed with Avenella exuosa, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Nardus stricta, Vaccinium myrtillus, Empetrum nigrum, Salix genus and ferns as the most dominating species, representing more than 80% of the biomass. After slaughtering, 22 carcasses of each gender were selected according to these criteria: age of dam (three to seven years), twin lambs, type of pasture and a carcass weight above 15 kg (Table 1). 2.2. Experiment 2 This experiment was carried out at an experimental farm at Tjtta in Northern Norway (65o49N 12o25E) from May to September of 2008. The effect of pre-slaughter fattening on meat quality was compared using a control group of suckling lambs slaughtered directly from the semi-natural pasture (C) and lambs that were weaned and subjected to the following pre-slaughter diets: Stall-feeding with concentrate and grass silage for a period of 24 (Conc24) or 44 days (Conc44), or grazing on Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiorum var. Westerwoldicum) for the same periods (Rye24 or Rye44). The semi-natural pasture at Tjtta is approximately 250 ha and the vegetation consists mainly of low- and tall-herb woodland and low-herb pastures with Agrostis capillaries (27%) and Phleum pratense (25%) being the dominant species (Lind, Berg, Eik, Eilsertsen, et al., 2009). The stocking rate was estimated to about 400 sheep km2. The grass silage had on average 30% DM, 50% NDF and 13% CP on a dry matter basis. The commercial concentrate mixture given to stall-fed lambs contained 17% CP and 27% NDF on a dry matter basis. The lambs were group fed with all lambs from the same treatment in each pen and received grass silage ad libitum at 10% refusal rate. The concentrate and grass silage amounted, respectively, to 80% and 20% of the diet on a dry matter basis with a daily average intake of 1 kg concentrate per animal. However, group feeding can cause considerable animal-to-animal variation in the amount of concentrate consumed. Ryegrass samples had a DM contents between

11% and 8%. The CP and NDF contents varied from 23 to 27% and 50 to 57%, respectively. The ryegrass sward was cut approximately three weeks prior to grazing to ensure a high quality of the pasture. The pasture of 1.5 ha was divided into two elds allowing a continuous stocking rate for both treatments. A total of 150 lambs born indoor during April and May were used in the experiment. Ewes and lambs grazed a semi-natural pasture before they were gathered on August 11th for allocation into dietary experimental groups. Forty lambs (24 females and 16 males) with a minimum of 32 kg BW were randomly selected, weaned and allocated to treatment Rye44 and Conc44 based on gender having 12 female- and 8 male lambs in each treatment. During late summer and autumn the average daily weight gain is estimated to about 200 g/day. Lambs weighing more than 32 kg 44 days prior to slaughter should, with this growth rate, reach the minimum live weight at 40 kg at the time of slaughter. The rest of the ock was returned to graze the pasture. Three weeks later, on September 1st, the same procedure was repeated to establish the Rye24 and Conc24 groups this time using 36 kg BW as the minimum BW for selection of lambs. Finally on September 24th the control group was established from lambs grazing the semi-natural pasture weighing above 40 kg BW. Lambs from all ve treatments were then sent to the local abattoir, shorn and slaughtered immediately after arrival. After slaughtering, 29 male carcasses and 46 female carcasses were selected following these criteria: minimum 40 kg BW, age of dam (two to seven years) and treatment (Table 1).

2.3. Slaughtering The lambs, from both experiments, were slaughtered in random order according to the normal procedure at the abattoirs. The carcasses were submitted to low voltage electrical stimulation before being placed on hooks in chilled storage at 4 C. The lamb carcasses were weighed when hot and graded for conformation and external fat classications. The conformation grading was assessed on a 15-point scale, based on the EUROP conformation grid (Johansen, Aastveit, Egelandsdal, Kvall, & Re, 2006; Walstra, 1991). After chilling, the saddles (both loinsM. longissimus dorsiwith bones, behind the ribs) were removed from the carcasses, wrapped and vacuum-packed in sealable polyamide bags at the abattoir and brought to Noma Mat for sensory and fatty acid analyses. The saddles were aged for six days.

2.4. Fatty acid composition One loin from the saddles was used to determine the fatty acid composition using the subcutaneous adipose fat over the M. longissimus dorsi. The fatty acid composition was determined using a standard gas chromatography method. The adipose tissue was heated to 90 C for 45 min, and the liqueed fat (approximately 0.1 ml) was collected and dissolved in benzene (1.0 ml). The conversion to methyl esters was achieved by adding methanolic hydrochloric acid (3 N, 3.0 ml), and the sample was enclosed in room temperature and left overnight. Isooctane (1.0 ml) and aqueous sodium chloride (5.0%, 1 ml) were added and the mixture was left until phase separation occurred. The organic phase was separated and dried with aqueous sodium hydrogen carbonate (2%, 1 ml) and subsequently with dried sodium sulphate. The sample was injected (1.0 l) into an HP 6890 Gas Chromatography system (Hewlett Packard) equipped with a BPX70 column (L=60 m, ID=0.25 mm, df=0.25 m, SGE Analytical Science), a ame ionisation detector and He as carrier gas. Identication of fatty acids and check-up of the system performance were done using reference samples. The concentration of individual fatty acids was expressed in the percentage of total fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids (SFA) included myristic (C14:0), palmitic (C16:0) and stearic (C18:0) acids. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) included oleic (C18:1n9) acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) included linoleic (C18:2n6) and -linolenic (C18:3n3) acids.

Table 1 Effect of gender on birth weight, live weight at slaughter, age at slaughter, carcass weight, EUROP conformation and EUROP score for fatness from Norwegian White Sheep male and female lambs in Experiments 1 and 2. Experiment 1 Male Birth weight, kg Live weight at slaughter, kg Age at slaughter, days Carcass weight, kg EUROP conformationa EUROP fatnessb
a b

Experiment 2 Male 5.3 52.2 147 22.0 8.4 6.0 Female 4.9 47.9 147 20.2 8.2 6.0

Female 4.8 45.7 135 19.6 8.0 5.4

5.3 47.9 134 20.1 7.6 4.9

Scales 115 (15 = best conformation; EUROP conformation). Scales 115 (15 = fattest).

V. Lind et al. / Meat Science 88 (2011) 305310

307

2.5. Sensory analysis The day before sensory testing, the loins of the lambs were removed from the saddles. One loin was frozen for the fatty acid analysis. The other loin with the subcutaneous fat was cut into pieces of 1.5 cm each, and wrapped and vacuumed in oxygen barrier polyamide bags. On the day of the sensory testing, the meat samples were heated in a 70 C water bath for 40 min and served from a hot plate at 65 C to a sensory panel consisting of nine trained, selected assessors at Noma Mat (ISO, 1993). The method used was descriptive proling according to Generic Descriptive Analysis (Lawless & Heymann, 1999) and the sensory laboratory used was designed according to guidelines in ISO (1988). Water was served to cleanse the palate between samples. The nine assessors developed a test vocabulary to describe the differences between samples and they agreed upon a list of 19 attributes in total. A continuous, non-structural scale from 1 (lowest intensity) to 9 (highest intensity) was used in the evaluation (ISO, 1999). Odour attributes were: sweet, acid, metallic and rancid for both experiments. Vernal sweet grass (A. odoratum) odour and leaves/bark odour were tested in Experiment 1 while Italian ryegrass (L. multiorum) odour and concentrate odour were tested in Experiment 2. Taste attributes were: sweet, acid, and bitter. Flavour attributes were: metallic, cloying, gamy and rancid. Vernal sweet grass avour and leaves/ bark avour were tested in Experiment 1 while ryegrass avour and concentrate avour were tested in Experiment 2. Texture attributes were: hardness, tenderness, fatness and juiciness. Vernal sweet grass was chosen as an attribute in Experiment 1 since this grass was one of the domination species and a species which is known to be preferred by sheep (Rekdal, 2001). Each assessor did a monadic evaluation of the samples at individual speed on a computerised system for direct recording of data (CSA Compusense, version 4.4). All samples were served in a randomised order. Each meat sample that the assessors were served with was from the same part of the loin. 2.6. Statistical analysis Fatty acid data in both experiments were analysed using one-way ANOVA analyses with gender and diets as xed effects and single animals as experimental units (Minitab, 2000). Sensory data in both experiments were analysed using a mixed-model ANOVA (PROC MIXED, SAS for Windows, Version 9.1.3 from SAS Institute, Inc., NC, USA) with the assessor and animal (nested within gender) effects and their interaction as random effects, and gender and diets as xed effects. In Experiment 2, differences between genders were analysed within each treatment (C, Rye24, Rye44, Conc24 and Conc44) using the same mixed-model. When the ANOVA analyses in Experiment 2 were signicant (P b 0.05) means were separated by the Tukey Simultaneous test. Statistical levels from 0.05 b P b 0.1 are commented in the results. 3. Results 3.1. Fatty acid composition The most abundant fatty acids are presented in Table 2. In Experiment 1, the total amount of SFA was higher (P b 0.05) in meat from male lambs compared to meat from female lambs. In Experiment 2, meat from female lambs had a higher (P b 0.05) level of C16:0 than meat from male lambs. Meat from male lambs, on the other hand, had a higher (P b 0.05) level of PUFA than that of female lambs. 3.2. Sensory prole Table 3 shows average values for sensory attributes and results from ANOVA comparing results for male and female lambs in the two experiments. In Experiment 1, no signicant differences were found

Table 2 Least square means of fatty acids of the subcutaneous adipose tissue over the M. Longissimus dorsi of male and female lambs in Experiments 1 and 2 (Fatty acids in percentage of total fatty acids). . Experiment 1 Male C14:0 C16:0 C18:0 C18:1n9 C18:2n6 C18:3n3 SFA MUFA PUFA n6/n3 6.5 24.1 24.2 39.2 0.6 1.4 54.9 41.2 2 0.73 Female 6.7 23.1 22.8 39.6 0.5 1.4 52.6 41.6 1.9 0.61 SEM 0.2 1.0 0.5 0.8 0.1 0.1 0.7 0.8 0.1 0.2 P NS NS NS NS NS NS
a

Experiment 2 Male 6.3 27.1 20.3 39.6 1.4 1.6 54.9 42.1 3.0 1.0 Female 6.6 27.8 19.8 39.5 1.3 1.4 55.3 41.9 2.7 1.0 SEM 0.3 0.2 0.6 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.6 0.6 0.1 0.1 P NS
a

NS NS NS

NS NS NS NS NS NS
a

NS

SFA: Saturated fatty acid; MUFA: Monounsaturated fatty acid; PUFA: Poly-unsaturated fatty acid. SEM: Standard Error Mean; NS, not signicant. a P b 0.05.

between male and female lamb meat. However, the table shows a tendency to a higher intensity in sour odour in meat from female lambs compared to meat from male lambs (P = 0.06) and a tendency to a higher intensity in rancid odour in meat from male lambs compared to meat from female lambs (P = 0.08). Results from Experiment 2 show signicant differences between genders for the following attributes: sweet and sour taste and cloying avour. Meat from female lambs have a higher intensity in sweetness, sourness and a lower intensity in cloying avour than meat from male lambs. In addition, Table 3 shows a corresponding tendency for sweet odour (P = 0.08) and sour odour (P = 0.07) i.e. higher intensity for female than male. The table also shows a tendency to a higher intensity in gamy and rancid avour (both P = 0.08) and lower intensity in hardness (P = 0.07) in meat from male lambs than from female lambs.

Table 3 Least square means of sensory proles of meat from male and female lambs in Experiments 1 and 2 (evaluated on a scale of 19). Experiment 1 Male Odour Sweet Sour Metallic Grassb Experimental feedc Rancid Taste Sweet Sour Bitter Flavour Metallic Cloying Grassb Experimental feedc Gamy Rancid Texture Hardness Tenderness Fattiness Juiciness 3.80 4.20 3.80 1.50 1.80 1.10 3.70 4.30 3.90 4.30 2.60 1.46 1.87 3.80 1.16 3.40 3.87 3.87 5.30 Female 2.90 4.40 2.80 1.40 1.80 1.00 3.70 4.40 3.90 4.20 2.50 1.49 1.83 3.80 1.10 3.60 3.76 3.76 5.30 SEM 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 P NS
a

Experiment 2 Male 3.31 3.20 3.73 2.40 2.33 1.67 3.12 3.08 4.23 4.25 3.06 2.49 2.41 2.18 1.95 4.30 5.67 4.77 5.43 Female 3.47 3.50 3.71 2.25 2.18 1.43 3.32 3.48 4.11 4.25 2.80 2.28 2.22 2.36 1.60 4.05 5.89 4.77 5.55 SEM 0.9 1.1 1.2 1.2 1.4 1.1 0.8 1.1 1.3 1.4 1.6 1.3 1.5 1.1 1.4 1.1 1.4 0.9 1.0 P
a a

NS NS NS
a

NS NS NS NS
d d

NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS

NS NS
d

NS NS
a a

NS NS
a

SEM: Standard Error Mean; NS, not signicant. a 0.05 b P b 0.1. b In Experiment 1: Vernal sweet grass; in Experiment 2: Italian ryegrass. c In Experiment 1: Leaf/bark; in Experiment 2: concentrates. d P b 0.05.

308

V. Lind et al. / Meat Science 88 (2011) 305310

When analysing the sensory prole between genders within each of the ve treatments in Experiment 2, no signicant differences were found in the treatments Conc24 and Conc44 (results not shown). Meat from female lambs scored higher (P b 0.05) in fatness than that of male lambs within treatment C (results not shown). Differences between genders were found within the ryegrass treatments (Rye44 and Rye24) in Experiment 2 (Table 4). In treatment Rye24 meat from female lambs had higher scores for sour taste and tenderness and lower scores for cloying avour and hardness than meat from male lambs (P b 0.05 for all attributes). In treatment Rye44, meat from male lambs had higher intensity in sour odour and cloying avour and lower intensity in sour taste than meat from female lambs (P b 0.05 for all attributes). Table 4 also shows a tendency to a higher intensity in rancid odour (P = 0.06) and bitter taste (P = 0.08) in meat from male lambs compared to meat from female lambs in treatment Rye44. 4. Discussion Norwegian White Sheep are the dominating breed in Norway and make up about 70% of all sheep in Norway. Since this is a synthetic cross-bred type of sheep similar to what is found for example in UK, the results of this study may be of wide interest. Differences in meat quality between different breeds are considered to be small when the sheep are slaughtered at equal degrees of maturity such as age (Saudo, Sanchez, et al., 1998). In the literature, it is common to analyse intramuscular fat, subcutaneous fat or both adipose tissues for fatty acid composition (Tejeda, Pea, & Andrs, 2008). Bas and Morand-Fehr (2000) reported that the diet offered to lambs resulted in a similar fatty acid composition for both subcutaneous and intramuscular adipose tissue. In the present study, subcutaneous adipose tissue was chosen to determine the fatty acid composition in lamb meat, as adipose tissue is most easily affected by diet. Compared with male lambs, fat content is normally higher in meat from female lambs (Daz et al., 2003; Tejeda et al., 2008). Female lambs have a slower growth rate than male lambs and display greater
Table 4 Least square means of sensory proles of meat from male and female lambs in treatment Rye24 and Rye44 within Experiment 2 (evaluated on a scale of 19). Rye24 Male Odour Sweet Sour Metallic Ryegrass Concentrate Rancid Taste Sweet Sour Bitter Flavour Metallic Cloying Ryegrass Concentrate Gamy Rancid Texture Hardness Tenderness Fattiness Juiciness 3.29 2.96 3.70 2.66 2.37 1.74 2.96 2.70 4.45 4.25 3.40 2.67 2.40 2.29 2.34 4.60 5.28 4.99 5.21 Female 3.45 3.49 3.72 2.17 2.17 1.46 3.34 3.57 4.04 4.27 2.65 2.13 2.07 2.34 1.63 3.92 6.19 4.78 5.54 SEM 1.0 1.1 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.3 0.8 1.0 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.3 1.4 1.2 1.5 1.1 1.3 1.0 1.0 P NS NS NS NS NS NS NS
b

Rye44 Male 3.16 2.97 3.77 2.61 2.48 1.67 3.01 2.85 4.37 4.24 3.25 2.63 2.64 2.05 2.04 4.11 5.89 4.66 5.50 Female 3.48 2.61 3.65 2.17 2.18 1.31 3.32 3.54 4.06 4.16 2.73 2.25 2.31 2.46 1.53 3.98 5.97 4.76 5.60 SEM 0.9 1.1 1.3 1.3 1.5 1.3 0.8 1.0 1.3 1.5 1.5 1.3 1.6 1.1 1.5 0.9 1.3 0.9 0.9 P
a b

NS
a

NS
a

NS
c a

NS NS
b

NS
b

NS NS NS
a

NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS

b b a a

Rye24: grass feeding and grazing ryegrass for 24 days; Rye44: grass feeding and grazing ryegrass for 44 days; SEM: Standard Error Mean; NS, not signicant. a 0.05 b P b 0.1. b P b 0.05. c P b 0.01.

tendency to accumulate fat from an early age (Saudo, Sierra, et al., 1998). Fatness itself affects the fatty acid composition of total lipid because the triacylglycerols, which increase with fatness, are more saturated than the more constant phospholipids in muscle membranes (Marmer, Maxwell, & Williams, 1984). Since the lambs in the present study were highly selected no comparisons on the level of fatness were performed (Table 1). A comparison of the fatty acid composition between genders related to fatness is therefore not discussed in this paper. The higher level of SFA in the subcutaneous fat in male lambs in Experiment 1 corresponds with ndings by Saudo, Sierra et al. (1998) while no differences between genders are reported by e.g. Daz et al. (2003). In contrast to the present study, Saudo, Sanchez et al. (1998) and Daz et al. (2003) found male lambs to have a higher content of C16:0 in the subcutaneous fat than female lambs. The relationship between the fatty acid composition and the utilisation of maternal milk has been suggested by Webb, Casey, and Van Niekerk (1994). Due to these suggestions, the higher level of C16:0 found in female lambs compared to male lambs in the present study was unexpected. In contrast to this study, Daz et al. (2003) reported that female lambs had a higher content of PUFA than male lambs while Saudo, Sierra et al. (1998) found no differences in the content of PUFA between genders. The small differences observed in fatty acid composition between gender may be due to slaughtering at a young age (ve months) when fat content's in carcass is low (Enser et al., 1998). Several studies suggest that effect of gender on the sensory prole of lamb's meat is relatively small (Dranseld, Nute, Hogg, & Walters, 1990; Saudo, Sanchez, et al., 1998; Summers, Kemp, Ely, & Fox, 1978; Teixeira, Batista, Delfa, & Cadavez, 2005; Tejeda et al., 2008), while signicant differences have been demonstrated in other studies (Arsenos et al., 2002; Mushi, Eik, dny, et al., 2008; Mushi, Eik, Srheim, et al., 2008; Rousset-Akrim et al., 1997). Flavour intensity seems to be the sensory attribute most often inuenced (Arsenos et al., 2002). The differences in the sensory prole between genders seem to be more apparent in older (N6 months) than in younger lambs. In the present study avour intensity was not included as a separate attribute. Instead this may be seen as the sum of other avour attributes included, i.e. higher intensities in metallic, cloying, ryegrass, concentrate, gamy and rancid may be interpreted as a higher intensity in avour. Sweet odour and taste are traits often considered to be positive in meat (Prescott, Young, & O'Neill, 2001). Results from Experiment 2 in this study showing that meat from female lamb had a higher intensity for these attributes are in line with ndings of Mushi, Eik, Srheim, et al. (2008). The latter study demonstrated that meat from female lambs slaughtered at the age of six months had a higher intensity in sour taste compared to meat from male lambs slaughtered at the same age. In meat from lambs slaughtered at 1011 months (Mushi, Eik, dny, et al., 2008; Mushi, Eik, Srheim, et al., 2008) both sour taste and odour differed between genders. The signicant differences in meat sour taste between gender types and a failure to detect the same in meat sour odour for the young lambs could mean that panellists were more sensitive to taste variables than to odour variables (Mushi, Eik, Srheim, et al., 2008). The difference could be explained by the fact that as food is chewed, odours released are strongly smelled by way of the retro nasal passage at the back of the oral cavity (Young, Lane, Priolo, & Fraser, 2003). In contrast, in a Canadian experiment including a total of 1660 commercial lambs of different breeds, ages at slaughter and genders, Jeremiah, Tong, and Gibson (1998) reported that meat from female lambs had higher intensity in sour odour but not in sour taste compared to meat from male lambs. Meat from lambs fed concentrate typically has a substantially different avour when compared to meat from grazing lambs (Resconi, Campo, Furnols, Montossi, & Saudo, 2009). In contrast, differences found in meat from lambs fed on different pastures are often small or non-existent (dny et al., 2005; Fraser, Speijers, Theobald, Fychan, & Jones, 2004; Lind, Berg, Eik, Mlmann, et al., 2009; Young, Cruickshank, MacLean, & Muir, 1994). The differences in

V. Lind et al. / Meat Science 88 (2011) 305310

309

meat between genders within each of the ve treatments in Experiment 2 showed differences in intensity in sour taste within the two ryegrass treatments (Rye44 and Rye24). High energy diets (concentrate feeding) were reported by Young et al. (2003) to yield higher concentrations of branched chain fatty acids (BCFA). It therefore was expected to nd differences between genders in the concentrate-fed lambs in treatment Conc24 and Conc44, especially since the level of BCFAs has been suggested to have a sex-linked effect arising from male puberty (Young, Berdagu, Viallon, Rousset-Akrim, & Theriez, 1997). Young et al. (1997) found that the concentration of BCFAs was higher in slow-growing male lambs (slaughtered at the age of 7 months) than in fast-growing male lambs (3 months at slaughter). Additionally, Rousset-Akrim et al. (1997) found that the average testis weight was higher in the slow-growing males than in the fast-growing males. On the contrary, Young et al. (2003) found no correlation between BCFAs and testis weight between entire males and castrates indicating that BCFAs does not act as sex pheromones. Considering that the literature is not conclusive about the effect of BCFAs on puberty in male lambs, an early slaughtering of male lambs is likely to minimize or eliminate sex differences (Young et al., 1997). The higher intensity in cloying avour in meat from male lambs reported by Mushi, Eik, dny et al. (2008) and Mushi, Eik, Srheim et al. (2008) is in agreement with ndings in the present study (Experiment 2). When meat from male lambs scored higher in cloying taste, ram avour was also found to be more intense compared to meat from female lambs (Mushi, Eik, dny, et al., 2008; Mushi, Eik, Srheim, et al., 2008). This suggests that cloying avour is linked to sexual maturation of male lambs. Sexual maturity develops as the male lambs get older. Rancid avour, too, is considered to be less acceptable due to its effect on avour intensity of lamb meat (Notter et al., 1991). Tenderness is often associated with meat from female lambs (Johnson, Purchas, McEwan, & Blair, 2005; Mushi, Eik, Srheim, et al., 2008; Saudo, Sanchez, et al., 1998) due to differences in the level of carcass fatness between genders. In the present study, meat from female lambs fed ryegrass for 24 days (Rye24) in Experiment 2 was more tender than meat from male lambs. No difference in meat tenderness between genders was detected in other diets. In Experiment 2, the differences in tenderness within female and male lambs varied from 4.0 to 7.1 and 3.6 to 7.2, respectively. Large variations within genders in quality parameters such as avour and juiciness were recognised by Dranseld et al. (1990) who found differences between genders to be less than differences within animals of the same gender. 5. Conclusions The present study showed that meat from ve month old maleand female lambs may differ in quality and that the differences may be inuenced by the type of feed used prior to slaughtering. The results indicate that meat from female lambs should be prioritised over meat from male lambs for production of fresh quality products at all seasons while meat from male lambs could be used for less taste-sensitive dishes like dried and salted meat also high in demand. Off-season fresh meat should preferably be produced from female lambs. Furthermore, male lambs should be given optimum conditions to be ready for slaughter early in the season thereby reducing the risk of unwanted sensory characteristics in the meat. Acknowledgements This study was funded by the Research Council of Norway, the Foundation for Research Levy on Agricultural Products, the Agricultural Agreement Research Fund, Innovation Norway, the County Board of Agriculture in Nordland, Troms and Finnmark counties, the Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Noma Mat AS

and the Nordland Research Institute. We thank Per Lea, Noma Mat for assistance with the statistical analysis and Nils Kristian Afseth, Noma Mat, for his help in determining the fatty acid composition. References
dny, T., Haug, A., Srheim, O., Thomassen, M. S., Varszegi, Z., & Eik, L. O. (2005). Grazing on mountain pasturesDoes it affect meat quality in lambs? Livestock Production Science, 94, 2531. Arsenos, G., Banos, G., Fortomaris, P., Katsaounis, N., Stamataris, C., Tsaras, L., et al. (2002). Eating quality of lamb meat: effect of breed, sex, degree of maturity and nutritional management. Meat Science, 60, 379387. Aurousseau, B., Bauchart, D., Faure, X., Galot, A. L., Prache, S., Micol, D., et al. (2007). Indoor fattening of lambs raised on pasture: (1) Inuence of the stall nishing duration on lipid classes and fatty acids in the longissimus thoracis muscle. Meat Science, 76, 241252. Bas, P., & Morand-Fehr, P. (2000). Effect of nutritional factors on fatty acid composition of lamb fat deposits. Livestock Production Science, 64, 6179. Daz, M. T., lvarez, I., de la Fuente, J., Saudo, C., Campo, M. M., Oliver, M. A., et al. (2005). Fatty acid composition of meat from typical lamb production systems of Spain, United Kingdom, Germany and Uruguay. Meat Science, 71, 256263. Daz, M. T., Velasco, S., Prez, C., Lauzurica, S., Huidobro, F., & Caeque, V. (2003). Physico-chemical characteristics of carcass and meat Manchego-breed suckling lambs slaughtered at different weights. Meat Science, 65, 10851093. Dranseld, E., Nute, G. R., Hogg, B. W., & Walters, B. R. (1990). Carcass and eating quality of ram, castrated ram and ewe lambs. Animal Production, 50, 291299. Enser, M., Hallett, K. G., Hewett, H., Fursey, G. A. J., Wood, J. D., & Harrington, G. (1998). Fatty acid content and composition of UK beef and lamb muscle in relation to production system and implications for human nutrition. Meat Science, 49, 329341. Fraser, M. D., Speijers, M. H. M., Theobald, V. J., Fychan, R., & Jones, R. (2004). Production performance and meat quality of grazing lambs nished on red clover, lucerne or perennial ryegrass swards. Grass & Forage Science, 59, 345356. ISO (1988). Sensory analysisGeneral guidance for the design of test rooms. Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization. ISO (1993). Sensory analysismethodologygeneral guidance for the selection, training and monitoring of assessorsPart 1 Selected assessors. ISO 8586. Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization. ISO (1999). Sensory analysis, vocabulary. Norsk standard NS-ISO 5492. Jeremiah, L. E., Tong, A. K. W., & Gibson, L. L. (1998). The inuence of lamb chronological age, slaughter weight and gender. Flavour and texture proles. Food Research International, 31, 227242. Johansen, J., Aastveit, A. H., Egelandsdal, B., Kvall, K., & Re, M. (2006). Validation of the EUROP system for lamb classication in Norway; repeatability and accuracy of visual assessment and prediction of lamb carcass composition. Meat Science, 74, 497509. Johnson, P. L., Purchas, R. W., McEwan, J. C., & Blair, H. T. (2005). Carcass composition and meat quality differences between pasture-reared ewe and ram lambs. Meat Science, 71, 383391. Lawless, H. T., & Heymann, H. (1999). Sensory evaluation of food. Principles and practices. New York: Chapman & Hall. Lind, V., Berg, J., Eik, L. O., Eilsertsen, S. M., Mlmann, J., Hersleth, M., et al. (2009). Effects of concentrate or ryegrass-based diets (Lolium multiorum) on the meat quality of lambs grazing on semi-natural pastures. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica. Section A: Animal Science, 59(4), 230238. Lind, V., Berg, J., Eik, L. O., Mlmann, J., Jrgensen, M., Haugland, E., et al. (2009). Lamb from mountain range. Does pre-slaughter-fattening on lowland pastures alter meat quality? Meat Science, 83, 706712. Marmer, W. N., Maxwell, R. J., & Williams, J. E. (1984). Effects of dietary regimen and tissue site on bovine fatty acid proles. Journal of Animal Science, 59, 109121. Minitab (2000). User's guide 2: Data analysis and quality Tools. Release 13 for Windows. USA. . Mushi, D. E., Eik, L. O., dny, T., Srheim, O., Mtenga, L. A., Kifaro, G. C., et al. (2008). Effect of concentrate feeding systems, genotype and sex on productive performance and meat quality of Norwegian lambs. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavia Section A, 58, 2330. Mushi, D. E., Eik, L. O., Srheim, O., dny, T., & Haugen, J. E. (2008). Effect of sex of animals and time of slaughter on sensory quality of meat from Norwegian lambs. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavia Section A, 58, 3136. Notter, D. R., Kelly, R. F., & Berry, B. W. (1991). Effects of ewe breed and management system on efciency of lamb production: III. Meat characteristics. Journal of Animal Science, 69, 35233532. Prescott, J., Young, O., & O'Neill, L. (2001). The impact of variations in avour compounds on meat acceptability: a comparison of Japanese and New Zealand consumers. Food Quality and Preference, 12, 257264. Priolo, A., Micol, D., Agabriel, J., Prache, S., & Dranseld, E. (2002). Effect of grass or concentrate feeding systems on lamb carcass and meat quality. Meat Science, 62, 179185. Rekdal, Y. (2001). Animal grazing in mountainous areas. Types of vegetation and grazing value. (Husdyrbeite i fjellet. Vegetasjonstypar og beiteverdi). NIJOS-rapport 7/01 (pp. 49). (In Norwegian). Resconi, V. C., Campo, M. M., Furnols, M. F. i., Montossi, F., & Saudo, C. (2009). Sensory evaluation of castrated lambs nished on different proportions of pasture and concentrate feeding systems. Meat Science, 83, 3137. Rousset-Akrim, S., Young, O. A., & Berdagu, J. -L. (1997). Diet and growth effects in panel assessment of sheep meat odour and avour. Meat Science, 45, 169181. Saudo, C., Sanchez, A., & Alfonso, M. (1998). Small ruminant production systems and factors affecting lamb meat quality. Meat Science, 49(suppl.1), 2964. Saudo, C., Sierra, I., Olleta, J. L., Martin, L., Campo, M. M., Santolaria, P., et al. (1998). Inuence of weaning on carcass quality, fatty acid composition and meat quality in intensive lamb production systems. Animal Science, 66, 175187.

310

V. Lind et al. / Meat Science 88 (2011) 305310 Webb, A. C., Casey, N. H., & Van Niekerk, W. A. (1994). Fatty acids in the subcutaneous adipose tissue of intensively fed SA mutton Merino and Dorper wethers. Meat Science, 38, 123131. Young, O. A., Berdagu, J. -L., Viallon, C., Rousset-Akrim, S., & Theriez, M. (1997). Fatborne volatiles and sheep meat odour. Meat Science, 45, 183200. Young, O. A., Cruickshank, G. J., MacLean, K. S., & Muir, P. D. (1994). Quality of meat from lambs grazed on seven pasture species in Hawkes Bay. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 37, 177186. Young, O. A., Lane, G. A., Priolo, A., & Fraser, K. (2003). Pastoral and species avour in lambs raised on pasture, lucerne or maize. Journal of Scientic Food Agriculture, 83, 93104.

Summers, R. L., Kemp, J. D., Ely, D. G., & Fox, J. D. (1978). Effects of weaning, feeding systems and sex of lamb on lamb carcasses characteristics and palatability. Journal of Animal Science, 47, 622629. Teixeira, A., Batista, S., Delfa, R., & Cadavez, V. (2005). Lamb meat quality of two breeds with protected origin designation. Inuence of breed, sex and live weight. Meat Science, 71, 530536. Tejeda, J. F., Pea, R. E., & Andrs, A. I. (2008). Effect of live weight and sex on physic-chemical and sensorial characteristics of Merino lamb meat. Meat Science, 80, 10611067. Walstra, P. (1991). Classication systems in the European Community. Reciprocal meat conference proceedings, 44. (pp. 142146).