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Meat Sci. 2006 Jun;73(2):313-8. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2005.12.006. Epub 2006 Feb 17.

Lamb meat quality as affected by a natural or artificial milk feeding regime.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Agronomiche, Agrochimiche e delle Produzioni Animali - sez. Scienze delle Produzioni Animali, Universit├á di Catania, Via Valdisavoia, 5 - 95123 Catania, Italy.


Fourteen Barbaresca lambs were divided into two groups of seven at 24h from birth and reared exclusively on natural milk (NR) or on artificial milk (AR). Lambs were slaughtered at 40 days of age. The NR group tended (P<0.10) to grow faster, thus resulting in a higher (P<0.10) carcass weight as compared to the AR group. AR meat was darker (P<0.05), leaner (P<0.001) and with a higher moisture (P<0.10) and ash (P<0.05) content than its counterpart. The proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids was higher (P<0.01), while that of saturated lower (P<0.01) in meat from the AR group, resulting in a higher (P<0.01) polyunsaturated/saturated ratio. Linoleic acid content (P<0.001) and its n-6 series derivatives, except 9-12 trans C18:2 n-6 (P<0.001), increased more in the AR group meat than in the NR group. On the other hand, ╬▒-linolenic (P<0.001) and other n-3 series fatty acids were higher in meat from the NR group than in the AR group, leading to a lower (P<0.001) n-6/n-3 ratio. Furthermore, 9 cis 11 trans CLA was higher (P<0.001) in NR meat compared to AR meat. Finally, a milk-feeding regime exclusively based on artificial milk adversely affected the dietetic value of lamb meat compared to a natural rearing system, reducing the level of desirable fatty acids such as n-3 series and CLA.

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