Effect of a Diet Supplemented with Malic Acid–Heat (MAH) Treated Sunflower on Carcass Characteristics, Meat Composition and Fatty Acids Profile in Growing Lambs

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The objective of the study was to assess the effects of feeding sunflower meal (SM) and seeds (SS) protected against rumen degradation on carcass characteristics and composition and fatty acid (FA) profile of lamb meat. The protection of SM and SS was achieved by treating both feeds with malic acid at 150 ◦C for 2 h (MAH treatment) and in a previous study this treatment was shown to decrease ruminal degradability of protein of both feeds and fat degradability of SS. Two homogeneous groups of 12 lambs each were fed ad libitum high-cereal concentrates and cereal straw from 14 to 26 kg of body weight. The two concentrates differed only in the treatment SM and SS, which were included either untreated (control) or MAH treated. The MAH-fed lambs had greater thickness of dorsal fat (p = 0.016) and greater (p ≤ 0.016) values of the color parameters a* (redness) and C* (chromaticity) of the Rectus abdominis muscle. However, there were no differences in carcass measurements and in water-holding capacity, chemical composition, pH, color, or fatty acid of Longissimus muscle. In summary, the MAH treatment resulted in only subtle changes in meat composition and quality. However, there were no differences between groups in meat chemical composition and fatty acid profile.
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