Effect of Slaughter Weight, Carcass Weight and Sex on the Carcass Fatty Acid Composition of Boutsiko Breed Lambs

Document Type: Research Article


1 Department of Animal Production, Technological Educational Institute of Larisa,41110, Larisa, Greece

2 Department of Animal Production, Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, 57400, Thessaloniki, Greece


The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of slaughter and carcass weight, age at slaughter and sex on the fatty acid profile of the Greek Boutsiko sheep breed. Twenty lambs (ten females and ten males) were examined. The lambs were slaughtered at the age of 48 days. Carcasses were chopped in nine specific cuts and a random sample of 100 g was taken from each cut, with a total of 180 samples. From every ground sample a quantity of 2 g was taken for lipid extraction and preparation of fatty acid methyl esters. To predict the relationship of age, sex and weight on saturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) a path analysis was adopted which tests all regression equations simultaneously. Age at slaughter was assumed to have an indirect impact via slaughter weight and carcass weight. Findings suggest that the model which uses slaughter weight instead of carcass weight, predicts better the fatty acid composition of Boutsiko breed lambs. As to the nutritional quality of the meat, the PUFA / SFA ratio was found relatively low while the ratio ω-6/ω-3 PUFA, was acceptable for human healthy nutrition. The best fatty acid composition was found for leg, shoulder and racks. It was concluded that producers may increase the age of slaughter, but that should be combined with their engagement in low cost diet modifications so as to improve production and cost efficiency and at the same time retain the quality of lamb meat.


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