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Meat Sci. 2011 Mar;87(3):282-9. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2010.11.003. Epub 2010 Nov 11.

The volatile profile of longissimus dorsi muscle of heifers fed pasture, pasture silage or cereal concentrate: implication for dietary discrimination.

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DACPA-Sezione di Scienze delle Produzioni Animali, University of Catania, via Valdisavoia 5, 95123 Catania, Italy.


The aim of this study was to determine the effect of different diets on beef meat volatile organic compounds (VOC). Seven heifers grazed pasture for twelve months (group P); 8 heifers received grass silage ad libitum indoors for six months and then were switched to pasture for six months (group SiP); 8 heifers received grass silage ad libitum indoors for six months and then switched to pasture and also offered 0.5 of the diet dry matter of concentrate for six months (group SiPC); 8 heifers received concentrate for twelve months (group C). The muscle longissimus dorsi was sampled at slaughter and subjected to VOC analysis by SPME-GC-MS. Some aldeyhdes, ketones and furans deriving from lipid oxidation were affected by the treatments. Skatole, 3-undecanone, cuminic alcohol and 1-butanol, 2-methyl allowed the discrimination between animals fed concentrate from animals fed non-concentrate diets. Germacrene D, a terpenoid, was a marker of grass feeding.

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