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Quality, proximate composition, and sensory characteristics of Dorper, domestic commercial crossbred, and Australian sheep meat: a comparative study †,1 †,1 †,1 ‡ || $,1 †,2, K.M. Villatoro , F. Yang , T. Duarte , C.R. Phillips , D.R. Woerner , M.D. Chao , and X. Yang † ‡ Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis, USA; College of Agriculture, California State || University, Chico, USA; Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, USA; and Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, USA ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to ACC (P = 0.01), but was not different from DCC compare the proximate, quality, and sensory attri- (P = 0.76). Dorper was also rated with lower butes of Dorper sheep meat (Dorper), domestic flavor acceptability compared to DCC (P = 0.02), commercial crossbred (DCC) and Australian but was not different from ACC (P = 0.86). In commercial crossbred (ACC). A total of 60 un- addition, Dorper had the lowest overall accept- trimmed loins from the three sheep sources ance rating by the consumers (P = 0.01). Trained were purchased (20 sheep loins/source) and pro- sensory panel results followed the same trend as cessed. The objective color, objective tenderness the consumer panel results which rated Dorper to [Warner–Bratzler Shear Force (WBSF)], and be less tender than ACC (P = 0.002), but was not proximate composition of the sheep meat were different from DCC (P = 0.10). Dorper was also evaluated. A consumer panel and a trained sen- rated with greater off-flavor intensity compared to sory panel were also conducted to evaluate the DCC (P = 0.009), but was not different from ACC sensory attributes. Dorper had greater (P = 0.04) (P = 0.53). Finally, no differences were found for carbohydrate content compared to DCC, but all other attributes evaluated among the sheep was not (P = 0.86) different from ACC. In add- sources. The results indicated that consumers did ition, Dorper had the greatest WBSF value, fol- not prefer Dorper over ACC and DCC. However, lowed by DCC, with ACC having the least WBSF additional research with a more controlled envir- out of the three (P < 0.0001). For the consumer onment is needed to shed light on the true palat- panel, Dorper was rated to be less tender than ability traits of Dorper. Key words: consumer panel, Dorper, meat quality, sheep, trained panel © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribu- tion, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Transl. Anim. Sci. 2021.5:1-12 doi: 10.1093/tas/txab024 The consumption of lamb varies in magnitude INTRODUCTION depending on socio-economic factors, religious Lamb is expensive (US$20.77 /kg) in com- beliefs, cultural practices, sensory attributes, and parison to other red meats such as pork (US$9.19/ marketing factors (Font-i-Furnols and Guerrero, kg) and beef (US$14.65/kg.; USDA-ERS, 2016). 2014). The U.S. sheep industry has faced a decline in inventory since the mid-1940s, from 56 million in 1942 to 4 million heads in 2004 due to decline in These authors contributed equally to this work. 2 demand as well as increased competition from for- Corresponding author: email@example.com eign lamb meat (Jones, 2004). About half of the Received November 30, 2020. Accepted February 12, 2021. retail lamb products in the U.S. are imported from 1 Villatoro et al. other countries, and 70% of these imports comes Laboratory. Loins from all sheep sources were aged from Australia as Australian lamb meat is known in a cooler (2 ± 2 ˚C) according to their production to be economical and highly acceptable in meat dates to achieve an aging time between 29 and 32 quality traits (Russell et al., 2005; USDA-ERS, d. All aged loins were frozen (−20 ˚C) until sample 2019; O’Reilly et al., 2020). preparation. The Dorper lamb breed has been raised in dif- Loins from all sheep sources were removed ferent countries, such as the United States, Brazil, from the freezer and thawed in a cooler (2 ± 2 ˚C) Ethiopia, South Africa, and China (Cheng, 1984; for 48 h. After thawing, each loin was split and cut Canton et al., 2009; Deng et al., 2012; Yeaman on a bandsaw into 2.54 cm chops. The loin was et al., 2013; Ma et al., 2014). Previous studies have further deboned and trimmed to 0.30 cm subcuta- shown that the Dorper breed is adaptable to the neous fat. The first chop from the anterior end of harsh environment(s), fast-growing, and produces the left side was further trimmed to remove all sub- heavy carcasses that result in more attractive cuts cutaneous fat and designated for proximate ana- for consumers and retailers (Basson et al., 1969; lysis. The next three chops from the left side were Manyuchi et al., 1991; Shackelford et al., 2012; designated for quality traits analysis (pH, objective Souza et al., 2016). The Dorper sheep breed was color, Warner–Bratzer Shear Force [WBSF], and imported into the United States in the early 1990s cooking loss). The first four chops from the anterior (Snowder and Duckett, 2003) and is gaining popu- end of the right side were designated for consumer larity in the United States potentially due to its panel analysis, and the next three chops were des- meat quality attributes (Shackelford et al., 2012). ignated for trained panel analysis. All chops were However, little research has been done to com- vacuum-packaged and immediately frozen (–20 ˚C) pare the quality traits of lamb meat from Dorpers prior to the analysis. and other common sources of lamb meat sold in the United States (Clarke et al., 1996; Duckett and Quality Traits Analysis Kuber, 2001; Shackelford et al., 2012). The pH of each sheep meat sample was meas- In response to the decline in demand and in- ured in duplicate using a hand-held pH meter creased foreign competition, U.S. sheep industries with a penetrating glass electrode (WD-35634-30, must reply with consistent production of a uniform, Oakton Instruments, Vernon Hills, IL, USA) at safe, nutritious product of exceptional quality that the geometric center of the chop. The pH meter meets consumer expectations. The future of the was calibrated using pH 10.0, 7.0, and 4.0 buffers U.S. sheep industry depends on the demand and prior to the measurement. The pH electrode was profitability of lamb, and the Dorper sheep breed rinsed with distilled water and wiped dry between may be able to improve the sheep industry with its samples using Kimwipes (Kimberly-Clark, Irving, potential sensory advantages over the other breeds. TX, USA). Therefore, the primary objective of this research For objective color evaluation, chops were al- is to evaluate the proximate composition, quality, lowed to bloom for 30 min, and the color of the and sensory traits of Dorper sheep meat (Dorper) chops (lean portion only) was measured using compared to sheep meat from domestic commercial CIE L*(lightness), a*(redness), and b*(yellow- crossbred (DCC) and Australian commercial cross- ness) system with a colorimeter (CR-400, Minolta, bred (ACC). Osaka, Japan) set at a D65 light source and 2° ob- server with an 8-mm diameter measurement area. MATERIALS AND METHODS The colorimeter was calibrated using a white cer- amic tile provided by the manufacturer. The mean Sample Collection and Preparation of six random readings through the polyvinyl Sixty whole loins (NAMP #231) from Dorper chloride film from the cut surface of the three chops (n = 20), DCC (n = 20), and ACC (n = 20) were designated for quality traits analysis was recorded purchased from a processing plant in Texas, a pro- for each loin. cessing plant in California and a warehouse in For objective tenderness measurement California, respectively. The average loin weighed (WBSF), two chops from each loin were cooked approximately 3.13 kg (Dorper), 3.08 kg (DCC), on a George Foreman clamshell grill (Spectrum and 1.95 kg (ACC). The loins were vacuum pack- Brands, Middleton, WI, USA) to an internal tem- aged and shipped in refrigerated conditions (2 ± perature of 71 °C. The temperature of the chops 2 ˚C) to California State University-Chico Meats was monitored with a thermocouple thermometer Translate basic science to industry innovation Sheep meat quality probe (35100 AquaTuff, Cooper Atkins, Cincinnati, inclusion criteria required participants between the OH, USA), inserted horizontally to the center of ages of 18 and 65 yr old with diets that include sheep the chop. The chops were weighed before and after meat. At the time of each session, consumers filled cooking, and the cooking loss was calculated as an individual survey that included information the percentage weight loss of each chop before and about gender identity, race of origin, age, education after cooking. The cooked chops were cooled at 2 ± level, household size, household income, meat con- 2 °C for 24 h prior to the shear force analysis. Three sumption over time, sheep meat consumption over 1.27 cm diameter cores were removed from the time, and the most important factor influencing longissimus dorsi parallel to the muscle fiber using the decision to purchase. Each consumer evaluated a drill press from each chop. A total of six cores four samples per session. As a result, each sample from two chops were obtained for WBSF from each was evaluated by eight consumers. Consumers loin. Cores were sheared using a Texture Analyzer evaluated tenderness, flavor, juiciness, and overall (TMS-PRO, Food Technology Corp., Sterling, VA, acceptance using a 9-point hedonic scale (1 = dis- USA) equipped with a Warner–Bratzler blade with like extremely, 2 = dislike very much, 3 = dislike a crosshead speed set at 250 mm/min. The mean of moderately, 4 = dislike slightly, 5 = neither like nor the peak shear force (kg) of six cores was calculated dislike, 6 = like slightly, 7 = like moderately, 8 = like for each loin (USDA-ARS, 2015; American Meat very much, and 9 = like extremely). Each consumer Science Association, 2019). received unsalted saltine-type crackers and distilled water for palate cleansing between samples. Proximate Composition Analysis Trained Sensory Evaluation Chops designated for proximate composition analysis were shipped to Midwest Laboratories, Inc. Chops designated for trained sensory evalu- (Omaha, NE). The AOAC protocols (1997) were ation were shipped frozen overnight to the Colorado followed by the laboratory to measure the moisture State University Meat Laboratory (Fort Collins, (AOAC 950.46), protein (AOAC 990.03), fat (AOAC CO, USA) where they were stored frozen (–20 °C) 991.36), and ash (AOAC 900.02a). Carbohydrates until further analysis. For the trained evaluation, were calculated as “carbohydrates by difference” chops were thawed for 12 h under refrigeration as described by Monro and Burlingame (1996) and (0–2 °C). The raw chops were spaced 10 cm apart USDA (2015). Calories were calculated using the directly onto the flat side of a non-stick coated Atwater factors by multiplying the grams of pro- grilling plate (Rational, TriLax Model 60.71.617) tein and carbohydrate in a serving by 4 and the and cooked to an internal temperature of 62.8 °C grams of fat by 9 (Merrill and Watt, 1973). The nu- using a combination oven (Model SCC WE 61 tritional analysis was performed based on a serving E; Rational, Landsberg am Lech, Germany) set size of 100 grams. at 204 °C on default fan speed and 0% humidity. The internal temperature was monitored by pla- cing a K Thermocouple Thermometer (AccuTuff Consumer Tasting Panel Evaluation 340, model 34040, Cooper-Atkins Corporation, For consumer sensory evaluation (IRB Middlefield, CT, USA) into the geometric center 1112548-1), chops were thawed at 4 °C for 24 h of each sample. Immediately after cooking, sam- and cooked using identical procedures to those de- ples were held in a warming oven at 60°C for no scribed for WBSF. Immediately after cooking, each more than 30 min prior to serving to panelists. chop was cut into half. Samples were placed in glass Each sample without external fat was cut into uni- bowls and covered with aluminum foil marked with form cuboidal sections (1.3 cm × 1.3 cm × 2.54 cm) random four-digit codes. Samples were kept in an and served to a minimum of six qualified panelists. insulated food carrier (Carlisle model PC300N03, Panelists were trained and qualified to objectively Oklahoma, OK, USA) at 60 °C for no longer than quantify: lamb flavor intensity, off-flavor intensity, 30 min prior to a session. Each tasting sample was and tenderness using a 100 mm unstructured line then also assigned a random three-digit code and scale anchored at both ends (0 = absence or low in- served to consumers in random order simultan- tensity of a specified attribute, 100 = extreme inten- eously, ensuring each consumer received a sample sity of a specified attribute). Additionally, panelists from each group. identified and recorded a description of the off-fla- A total of 120 consumers participated in the vors. Each panelist received two to three cuboidal consumer evaluation over five sessions. Consumer sections or pieces from 10 individual chops over the Translate basic science to industry innovation Villatoro et al. course of 1 h. Each panelist was seated in a private but was not different from ACC (P = 0.64). The ul- booth equipped with red incandescent lighting to timate pH of red meat can be affected by factors mask color differences of the samples. Two panels such as breed, age, diet, and stress level (England, were conducted per day, one in the morning and 2018). Hopkins et al. (2007) found that the age one in the afternoon. Panelists were supplied with differences affected the pH of the semitendinosus unsalted saltine-type crackers, apple juice, and dis- muscle. The younger animals (4 mo) had lower pH tilled water for palate cleansing between samples. compared to older sheep (8, 12, and 22 mo). In the same study, authors also found that breed affected the ultimate pH of the semitendinosus muscle with Statistical Analyses the Merino-sired animals having greater pH values compared to Polled Dorset and Border Leicester The experimental design of the study was a sheep. In contrast, Teixeira et al. (2005) observed no completely randomized design with fixed effects significant difference in pH of sheep between breeds of the three sheep sources. The experimental units when measured at 24 h postmortem. Since age and were the individual loins (n = 60). One-way analysis exact breed of DCC and ACC sheep used in the of variance (ANOVA) was performed to compare current study was unclear, as no animal trial was the means of the quality traits and nutritional com- performed, we speculated that the pH differences position among the three sheep sources using Proc found in this study were most likely due to diet dif- Mixed in SAS (SAS version 9.4, SAS Institute Inc., ferences. Previous studies have shown that days on Cary, NC, USA). Data for trained sensory evalu- pasture has a positive correlation with meat pH in ation were analyzed as a randomized complete ruminants (McCaughey and Cliplef, 1996; Owens block design with each session as the block using and Gardner, 1999). The branded Dorper sheep Proc Glimmix in SAS. The results were reported meat that the authors purchased for this study was as the least-squares means. Nonparametric data advertised as grass-fed. In addition, sheep produc- from the consumer evaluation were analyzed by the tion in Australia is primarily based on year-round Kruskal–Wallis test using the Proc NPAR1WAY extensive grazing systems (Ponnampalam et al., procedures in SAS. The Dwass–Steel–Critchlow– 2014), while commercial sheep production in the Fligner (DSCF) post hoc test was used after the United States is well known for utilizing a wide Kruskal-Wallis test for multiple paired compari- range of finishing diets that include cereal grains, sons. An α value of 0.05 was used to determine the oil seeds, and other grain by-products (Stanton and statistical significance of all the analyses. LeValley, 2014). In terms of objective color, no differences in RESULTS AND DISCUSSION CIE L*, a*, or b* values were observed among sheep meat sources (P = 0.92, 0.45, 0.34 for L*, a*, Quality Traits Analysis b*, respectively; Table 1). These findings contradict Meat quality results are provided in Table 1. other studies that have shown lambs fed a grass/ The pH values were different among the three sheep forage diet tended to yield meat that is darker in sources (P = 0.0007; Table 1). The pH value of both lean and fat color than the ones fed on a con- Dorper was greater (P = 0.0018) compared to DCC, centrated diet (Díaz et al., 2002; Priolo et al., 2002, Table 1. Least square means (LSmeans ± standard error of the mean) of objective measurements (Warner Bratzler Shear Force (WBSF), color (CIE L* a* b*) of lean meat, cooking loss and pH) of sheep meat from Dorper, domestic commercial crossbred (DCC), and Australian commercial crossbred (ACC). Dorper DCC ACC SEM P-value Color L* 51.13 51.1 50.74 1.09 0.92 Color a* 12.54 13.77 13.49 1.01 0.45 Color b* 5.49 6.15 6.00 0.46 0.34 a a b Cooking loss, % 15.39 15.17 12.44 1.15 0.02 a b c WBSF, kg 2.16 1.81 1.43 0.10 <0.001 a b a pH 5.94 5.81 5.96 0.04 <0.001 CIE (Commission Internationale de l’Éclairage), L* (lightness), a* (redness), b* (yellowness). abc LSMeans with a different superscript letter in the same row are significantly different (P < 0.05). Translate basic science to industry innovation Sheep meat quality Ekiz et al., 2012). The ultimate pH of meat poten- age of the animal increases, so does the shear force tially affects the color of meat (Aberle et al., 2012). value, indicating that age does in fact impact ten- Young et al. (1993) reported that sheep meat from derness. Additionally, the utilization of methods Merino breed had a greater pH value (6.37) com- such as electrical stimulation during processing pared to the sheep meat from other breeds used in can impact tenderness. Electrical stimulation is said study. However, it is important to note that often utilized as a means to improve tenderness Young et al. acknowledges that the increase in pH and prevent meat defects such as cold shortening observed in Merino sheep could be attributed to (Sheridan et al, 1998; Lee et al., 2000). DCC was a number of different causes including operator procured from a large commercial processing error, variations between sides of the animal and plant that regularly utilizes electrical stimulation. unbalanced groups. While sheep meat from Merino On the other hand, the Dorper meat was pro- breeds was visually observed during the same study cured from a small processing plant that likely to produce meat of darker color compared to meat does not possess this technology. Unfortunately, from Coopworth breeds, this observation was not the authors do not possess knowledge regarding quantified instrumentally. In addition to the pH of the processing condition of ACC as they were meat, studies have also shown that degradation of procured from a warehouse. In addition to age proteins, during the aging process, may affect drip and processing conditions, diet can also impact volume and subsequently alter the reflectance of tenderness. Animals fed a grain-based diet have light on meat (Warriss and Brown, 1987). In our been shown to have improved meat tenderness study, all the loins were aged extensively for the compared to meat from animals finished on grass same period of time (29–32 d). Thus, it is possible (Priolo et al., 2001; Ekiz et al., 2012). As previ- that the protein degradation in the aged sheep meat ously stated, the Dorper sheep used in this study affected the light reflectance, which may explain the were advertised as grass-fed, which could explain lack of difference in L*, a*, and b* values obtained the greater WBSF values of Dorper compared to from this study. DCC. Although we do not possess the knowledge The WBSF values were different among the of the finishing diet for DCC, it is most likely sheep sources (P < 0.0001). Dorper breeds had that DCC was supplemented by grains based the largest shear force value followed by DCC, on the geographical location of lamb source with ACC being the most tender out of the three. (Northern California) and the month of the Belew et al. (2003) determined that WBSF values year of slaughter (August). Finally, genetics can below 3.2 kg are considered very tender and also play a role in observed changes in tender- values above 4.6 kg are considered tough. The ness (Fisher et al., 2004; Shackelford et al., 2012). WBSF values obtained from this study were all Sañudo et al. (1997) found that the longissimus lower than 3.2 kg (Dorper 2.16 kg (1.79–2.89), lumborum muscle from Castenella sheep was sig- DCC 1.81 kg (1.14–2.48), and ACC 1.43 kg nificantly less tender and less juicy than that from (1.13–1.78), respectively). These values indicate Churra, Manchega, or Awasi crossbreeds at ap- that sheep meat from all three sources is object- proximately 1 mo of age, suggesting that breed ively very tender. There is a multitude of factors may affect tenderness to some degree. However, such as age, processing conditions, diet, and gen- the sheep studied by Sañudo may have been too etics that can lead to changes in tenderness. On young for meat toughness to develop and thus average, U.S. lambs are slaughtered at around 6–8 there may be more pronounced differences with mo old (USDA FSIS, 2011). On the other hand, increased age. Factors such as the lack of devel- lambs are typically slaughtered earlier at around opment of connective tissue and hypertrophy 5 mo of age in Australia (Payne et al., 2020). could have masked the tenderness differences Although the physiological age of sheep in the among breeds. current study was unclear, a difference in loin size Significant differences were found for cooking was observed among sources (Dorper: 3.13 kg, loss among the different sheep meat sources DCC: 3.08 kg, and ACC: 1.95 kg). This difference (P = 0.02). Dorper had greater (P = 0.01) cooking in age at slaughter between the United States and loss compared to ACC, but was not different from Australian lambs could be the possible reason for DCC (P = 0.85). The cooking loss can be affected the differences observed in size and tenderness. by factors like pH, proximate composition, aging A study conducted by Bouton et al. (1978) evalu- time and cooking temperature (Aaslyng et al., ated the shear force values of sheep varying in age 2003; Abdullah and Qudsieh, 2009). Prior studies from 2–3 mo to 6–8 yr old. They found that as the have shown mixed results on the effect that breed Translate basic science to industry innovation Villatoro et al. plays in cook loss in other species such as swine may be altered by factors such as diet, lairage time, (Jeremiah et al., 1999). However, this may not transportation stress, and processing technology. prove true for all species as studies have shown These factors may affect the glycogen content, breed to have little to no effect on cooking loss in a major storage compound of carbohydrates in sheep. Cloete et al. (2012) reported no differences in the muscle (Rosenvold et al., 2002; Ferguson and cooking loss among diverse sheep breeds. Similarly, Warner, 2008; Díaz et al., 2014) through direct Van Der Merwe et al. (2020) found that cooking means, or indirectly by influencing glucose concen- loss did no differ between Dohne Merino, Dormer, tration (Liste et al., 2011; Bernardini et al., 2012). Dorper, Meatmaster, Merino, Namaqua Afrikaner, For example, Santé -Lhoutellier et al. (2008) inves- and South African Mutton Merino. Watanabe tigated the effect of grass-fed and concentrate-fed et al. (2018) concluded that drip loss is negatively diets on glycogen content of the longissimus dorsi correlated with pH, which may explain the differ- muscle from sheep and found that animals fed with ences in cooking loss between Dorper and DCC. concentrate diets had greater glycogen levels com- However, the lack of difference in cooking loss be- pared to grass-fed animals. Similar to the current tween Dorper and ACC observed in this study re- study, no color difference in sheep meet was ob- mains unexplained. served between the grass and concentrate fed lambs. Although no difference in color was observed in the current study, it is important to note that a similar Proximate Composition trend was seen in carbohydrate content and pH. The proximate composition of the sheep meat As previously mentioned, there is a likelihood that from the three sources is presented in Table 2. ACC and Dorper sheep used in this study were No differences in moisture (P = 0.64), protein raised on a grass-only diet while the DCC sheep (P = 0.10), fat (P = 0.46), ash (P = 0.31), and cal- were supplemented by grain. However, changes in ories content (P = 0.71)were detected among sheep glycogen levels resulting in color change cannot be meat sources. The moisture, fat and crude protein attributed to diet alone but rather to a combination content of sheep meat across all three sources were of additional factors (Ponnampalam et al., 2017). approximately 71%, 6.1%, and 21% respectively. The low-fat content (5.8–6.6%) observed in each of Consumer Demographics the three sheep meat sources could be due to the cuts used in this study. Campo et al. (2016) found The demographic data of 120 consumers that differing fat content in various cuts of lamb. They participated in the sensory panel evaluation of the found that the breast was the fattest at 42% (only three sheep sources are presented in Table 3. More accounting for 4.5% of the overall carcass fat) and female (55.8%) than male (43.4%) consumers par- the leanest cut was leg at 11.5%. ticipated in the consumer sensory panel. The ma- The Dorper samples had greater carbohydrate jority of participants were either Asian (48.3%) content compared to DCC (P = 0.04), but did not or Caucasian (32.5%). Most participants were re- differ from ACC (P = 0.86) based on carbohydrate cruited from the University of California-Davis by difference. The concentration of glycogen, the campus, and thus a large number of the con- primary form of carbohydrates in meat/muscles sumers were between 20 and 29 yr old (70.8%), and 100% of the consumers had at least some col- lege/technical school experience. This also helps Table 2. Least squares means (LSMeans) of prox- explain why only 31.8% of the consumers had a imate composition (g/100 g) of sheep meat from yearly household income above US$75,000. More Dorper, domestic commercial crossbred (DCC), than 40% of the consumers reported eating meat and Australian commercial crossbred (ACC) multiples times per day (43.7%) and consuming sheep at least once a month (45.8%). Lastly, Dorper DCC ACC SEM P-value quality (54.9%) and price (38.2%) were the most Moisture 70.94 70.83 70.48 0.50 0.65 important factors that influenced the consumers’ Protein 21.35 21.20 21.72 0.25 0.10 decision to purchase sheep meat. Fat 5.83 6.65 5.86 0.74 0.46 Ash 0.91 0.90 0.85 0.05 0.31 a b a Carbohydrates 1.09 0.55 1.13 0.26 0.05 Consumer Panel Calories, cal 142.1 146.85 144.2 5.73 0.71 The consumer panel results are presented in ab LSMeans with a different superscript letter in the same row are Tables 4a–4d. Dorper was rated to have a lower significantly different (P < 0.05). Translate basic science to industry innovation Sheep meat quality Table 3. Demographic data of consumers (n = 120) Table 4a. Consumer tasting panel data for tender- that participated in sensory panel evaluation of ness of Dorper, domestic commercial crossbred sheep meat from Dorper, domestic commercial (DCC), and Australian commercial crossbred crossbred (DCC), and Australian commercial (ACC) sheep meat crossbred (ACC). Dorper DCC ACC Percentage of re- 1 – Dislike extremely 0.62% 0.62% 0.62% Characteristic Response sponders (%) 2 3.75% 2.5% 1.88% Gender Male 43.3 3 8.12% 7.5% 5.63% Female 55.8 4 7.5% 8.13% 6.25% Other 0.8 5 5% 3.75% 3.12% Ethnic origin Caucasian 32.5 6 21.25% 16.25% 14.38% African American 0 7 26.88% 23.75% 28.12% African American/Asian 0.8 8 23.75% 30% 30% Hispanic 5 9 – Like extremely 3.13% 7.5% 10% b ab a Asian 48.3 Means with SE 6.21(0.14) 6.50 (0.15) 6.75 (0.14) Middle Eastern 4.1 P-value 0.011 Age Under 20 10 A 9-point hedonic scale was used for the consumer tasting panels 20–29 70.8 (1 = dislike extremely, 2 = dislike very much, 3 = dislike moderately, 30–39 11.6 4 = dislike slightly, 5 = neither like nor dislike, 6 = like slightly, 7 = like 40–49 0.8 moderately, 8 = like very much, and 9 = like extremely). 50–59 1.6 Kruskal–Wallis and Dwass–Steel–Critchlow–Fligner (post hoc pair- Over 60 5 wise multiple comparison) were used to determine the significance of Education Level Some college/technical 29.1 the sheep sources. P-value is from Kruskal–Wallis test. abc school Significantly different from one sheep source to another sheep College graduate 31.6 source (P < 0.05). Post graduate 34.1 Others 0 Table 4b. Consumer tasting panel data for juiciness Household size 1 People 21.6 of Dorper, domestic commercial crossbred (DCC), 2 People 16.6 and Australian commercial crossbred (ACC) sheep 3 People 25 meat 4 People 24.1 5 People 6.6 Dorper DCC ACC 6 People 3.3 1 – Dislike extremely 1.25% 1.87% 1.25% Over 6 People 2.5 2 3.12% 1.87% 4.38% Yearly household Less than $20,000 22.6 3 7.5% 5.63% 2.5% income $20,000 to $34,999 29.4 4 10.63% 10.63% 10.63% $35,000 to $49,999 10.1 $50,000 to $74,999 5.8 5 13.13% 10% 7.5% $75,000 to $99,999 9.2 6 24.38% 21.87% 20.62% $100,000 or more 22.6 7 16.87% 16.88% 27.5% Frequency of meat Multiple times a day 43.6 8 18.75% 25.63% 20% consumption Once a day 21.8 9 – Like extremely 4.37% 5.62% 5.62% Several times a week 26.8 Means with SE 5.91 (0.15) 6.20 (0.15) 6.24 (0.14) Once a week 6.7 Less than once a week 0.8 P-value 0.151 Frequency of At least once a week 8.3 A 9-point hedonic scale was used for the consumer tasting panels lamb meat At least once a month 45.8 (1 = dislike extremely, 2 = dislike very much, 3 = dislike moderately, consumption At least once every 6 mo 29.1 4 = dislike slightly, 5 = neither like nor dislike, 6 = like slightly, 7 = like At least once a year 16.6 moderately, 8 = like very much, and 9 = like extremely). Important factor Quality 54.9 Kruskal–Wallis and Dwass–Steel–Critchlow–Fligner (post hoc pair- that influence Price 38.2 wise multiple comparison) were used to determine the significance of lamb meat Country of origin 2.9 the sheep sources. P-value is from Kruskal–Wallis test. purchase Part of the lamb 2.9 abc Significantly different from one sheep source to another sheep Don’t buy lamb 0.9 source (P < 0.05). the WBSF values obtained in the current study tenderness liking score than ACC (P = 0.0087), (Table 1), where ACC had the lowest WBSF but was not rated differently from DCC by con- values among the three sources. Discussion re- sumers (P = 0.76). This result was supported by garding potential differences in tenderness Translate basic science to industry innovation Villatoro et al. Table 4c. Consumer tasting panel data for flavor but was not different from ACC in the consumer of Dorper, domestic commercial crossbred (DCC), panel (P = 0.32). The flavor development of meat and Australian commercial crossbred (ACC) sheep is the direct result of interactions between lipids, meat amino acids, sugar, and heat to generate volatile compounds. This process can be influenced by dif- Dorper DCC ACC ferent factors such as breed, sex, and animal diet, 1 – Dislike extremely 2.5% 0.62% 0% which may affect the proximate composition and 2 8.12% 1.88% 5% pH of meat (Field, 1984; Mottram and Salter, 3 11.87% 6.25% 5.63% 1989; Elmore et al., 2000). In this study, we no- 4 11.87% 12.5% 13.13% ticed similar patterns in pH, carbohydrate con- 5 8.13% 15.63% 11.25% 6 18.13% 13.75% 24.38% tent and flavor acceptability across the three sheep 7 21.88% 21.88% 23.75% sources. Young et al. (1993) showed that greater 8 13.13% 21.87% 14.38% pH value adversely affected sheep meat flavor. The 9 – Like extremely 4.37% 5.62% 1.88% lower flavor acceptability of Dorper meat may be b a ab Means with SE 5.48 (0.17) 6.12 (0.14) 5.83 (0.14) due to diet. These findings are in agreement with a P-value 0.026 study conducted by O’Reilly et al. (2020) who stud- ied the impact of various demographic factors of A 9-point hedonic scale was used for the consumer tasting panels (1 = dislike extremely, 2 = dislike very much, 3 = dislike moderately, American, Australian, and Chinese consumers on 4 = dislike slightly, 5 = neither like nor dislike, 6 = like slightly, 7 = like sensory scoring of sheep meat. They found that two moderately, 8 = like very much, and 9 = like extremely). of the most impactful demographic factors were Kruskal–Wallis and Dwass–Steel–Critchlow–Fligner (post hoc pair- that of age and income. In Chinese consumers, they wise multiple comparison) were used to determine the significance of the sheep sources. P-value is from Kruskal–Wallis test. found that older consumers were more generous in abc Significantly different from one sheep source to another sheep their scoring of lamb. In this study, the vast ma- source (P < 0.05). jority of the consumers in the panel identified as being between 20 and 29 yr old (70.8%). Table 4d. Consumer tasting panel data for overall No difference (P = 0.15) in juiciness among acceptance of Dorper, domestic commercial cross- the three sheep meat sources was detected by con- bred (DCC), and Australian commercial crossbred sumers. However, Hoffman et al. (2003), reported (ACC) sheep meat juiciness differences between two sheep breeds of the six breeds tested, suggesting that breed may af- Dorper DCC ACC fect juiciness at least to some degree. In addition, 1 – Dislike extremely 2.5% 0.625% 0% Priolo et al. (2002) reported sheep meat from grain- 2 5.63% 1.25% 4.37% fed sheep was juicier than sheep meat from grass-fed 3 10% 5% 4.37% 4 13.13% 14.375% 15% sheep. Finally, juiciness has been shown to correlate 5 10% 8.75% 6.25% with cooking loss (Safari et al., 2001). Our results 6 20.62% 17.5% 19.38% somewhat contradicted the results from other stud- 7 18.12% 25.625% 31.87% ies as we reported differences in cooking loss among 8 16.87% 20.625% 13.75% the three sheep sources, but no difference in juici- 9 – Like extremely 3.12% 6.25% 5% ness was detected by the consumer panel. One pos- b a a Means with SE 5.6 (0.16) 6.25 (0.14) 6.07 (0.14) sible explanation for this discrepancy is that there P-value 0.013 was no difference in fat content among groups. The A 9-point hedonic scale was used for the consumer tasting panels juiciness of meat is highly impacted by fat content (1 = dislike extremely, 2 = dislike very much, 3 = dislike moderately, (O’Quinn et al., 2012; Listrat et al., 2016). Since 4 = dislike slightly, 5 = neither like nor dislike, 6 = like slightly, 7 = like there was no difference in fat content among groups moderately, 8 = like very much, and 9 = like extremely). b it is expected that there would also be no difference Kruskal–Wallis and Dwass–Steel–Critchlow–Fligner (post hoc pair- wise multiple comparison) were used to determine the significance of in juiciness as well. However, it is important to note the sheep sources. P-value is from Kruskal–Wallis test. that most of the differences in juiciness observed abc Significantly different from one sheep source to another sheep sou- in prior studies were identified by trained panelists rce (P < 0.05). who might be able to identify differences in juici- among different treatments in this study was also ness that consumers were not able to identify. provided in the same section. Dorper was rated with lower overall accept- Dorper was rated with lower flavor accept- ance scores by the consumers compared to DCC ability compared to DCC sheep meat (P = 0.02), (P = 0.01) and rated similar to ACC (P = 0.14). Safari Translate basic science to industry innovation Sheep meat quality Table 5. Least squares means (LSMeans) of three sensory attributes (intensity of flavor, tenderness and off-flavor) of Dorper, domestic commercial crossbred (DCC), and Australian commercial crossbred (ACC) sheep meat assessed in the trained panel evaluation Dorper DCC ACC SEM P-value Flavor 32.14 29.03 28.93 2.23 0.28 b ab a Tenderness 76.31 79.27 81.83 1.72 0.01 a b a Off-Flavor 14.47 10.39 13.56 1.21 0.02 An unstructured line scale anchored at both ends was used (0 = absence or low intensity, 100 = extreme intensity). abc LSMeans with a different superscript letter in the same row are significantly different (P < 0.05). et al. (2001) reported that tenderness and flavor are liver, metallic, fishy and sour off-flavors for all the the two most important sensory attributes of meat sheep meat sources. Kemp et al., (1980) and Rousset- that influence the overall acceptability of meat by Akrim et al., (1997) demonstrated that nutritional consumers. All things considered, Dorper was rated regimen before harvest had a strong impact on with the lowest overall acceptance score by the con- flavor and off-flavor ratings of sheep meat. Sañudo sumers this could be attributed to lower tenderness et al. (2000) further showed that finishing diet plays and a lower level of flavor acceptability. This result a more important role than breeds in determining was supported by Navajas et al. (2008), who reported the final flavor and off-flavor intensity of sheep meat that Scottish Blackface sheep meat had greater overall as they demonstrated that the mutton off-flavor in- liking compared to Texel sheep due to greater tender- tensity was similar across Romney, Hampshire, ness and flavor ratings. However, consumer demo- Columbia, Rambooillet and Merino breeds when graphics may also influence consumer acceptance. they were on a similar diet. Finally, Duckett and O’Reilly et al. (2020) found that income played a sig- Kuber (2001) concluded that finishing sheep on pas- nificant role in consumers’ rating of sheep meat. They ture increased the intensity of off-flavors. As dis- found that those in the lower-income brackets tended cussed previously, it is highly likely that the finishing to rate the tenderness, flavor, and overall likeness of diet for ACC sheep and Dorper sheep was grass lamb higher than those in higher income brackets. In while DCC sheep were finished on grain, which ex- this study over half (67.9%) of consumers reported a plains the greater intensity of off-flavor in ACC and yearly household income below $75,000 which could Dorper meat evaluated by trained panelists. influence their overall acceptance. CONCLUSION Trained Sensory Panel The study compared the quality, proximate The data of the trained panel are presented in composition and sensory attributes among Dorper, Table 5. The trained panelists rated Dorper meat DCC and ACC. The results indicated that there less tender than ACC (P = 0.002), but not different were apparent meat quality differences among the from DCC (P = 0.10). These results further corrob- three sheep meat sources. Differed from common orate our data from the consumer panels and were perception, DCC was preferred over Dorper supported by the WBSF values, which all showed and ACC by consumers and trained panelists. Dorper to be the least tender sheep source out of Additional research with a more controlled envir- the three. onment is needed to shed light on the quality and No differences (P = 0.46) in lamb flavor inten- palatability traits of Dorper. sity among the three sheep sources were identified by the trained panelists. However, trained panelists ACKNOWLEDGMENTS reported Dorper (P = 0.009) and ACC (P = 0.03) The authors would like to thank the American had greater off-flavor intensity compared to DCC. Dorper Sheep Breeders’ Society and the California Soapy, earthy and serum off-flavors were specifically State University Agricultural Research Initiative noted by trained panelists for Dorper, and mutton for funding this project. and oxidized off-flavors were reported for ACC. Conflict of interest statement. None declared. Additionally, trained panelists identified grassy, Translate basic science to industry innovation Villatoro et al. New Zealand Society of Animal Production; p. 157–161. 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Translational Animal Science – Oxford University Press
Published: Feb 9, 2021
Keywords: consumer panel; Dorper; meat quality; sheep; trained panel
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