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Open AccessArticle

The Impact of Antioxidant Supplementation and Heat Stress on Carcass Characteristics, Muscle Nutritional Profile and Functionality of Lamb Meat

1
School of Agriculture and Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agriculture Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
2
Faculty of Biological Sciences, The University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
3
Chemistry, Agriculture Victoria Research, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Macleod, VIC 3085, Australia
4
NSW Department of Primary Industries, Centre for Red Meat and Sheep Development, P.O. Box 129, Cowra, NSW 2794, Australia
5
Animal Production Sciences, Agriculture Victoria Research, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1286; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081286
Received: 16 June 2020 / Revised: 23 July 2020 / Accepted: 27 July 2020 / Published: 28 July 2020
The increased incidence of heat stress in lambs has been reported in many countries, especially warmer parts of the world, compromising lamb welfare, having flow on effects for meat quality traits. While heat stress impacts can be variable depending on the severity and duration, the exposure of lambs to one week of elevated temperature increased the muscle omega-6 fatty acid concentration compared with the thermoneutral group. The one week heat stress is believed to enhance pro-inflammatory actions through induced free radical formation and oxidative stress. Somewhat independently, supplementation of the diet with vitamin E improved the growth rate and reduced oxidative stress. This suggests that under more extreme heat stress conditions, lambs fed in feedlots would benefit from enhanced levels of antioxidants such as vitamin E.
The impact of antioxidant supplementation and short-term heat stress on lamb body weight gain, meat nutritional profile and functionality (storage stability of lipids and colour) of lamb meat was investigated. A total of 48 crossbred ((Merino × Border Leicester) × Dorset) lambs (42 ± 2 kg body weight, 7 mo age) were randomly allocated to three dietary treatments (n = 16) by liveweight (LW) that differed in dosage of vitamin E and selenium (Se) in the diet. Vitamin E and Se levels in the control (CON), moderate (MOD) and supranutritional (SUP) dietary treatments were 28, 130 and 228 mg/kg DM as α-tocopherol acetate and 0.16, 0.66 and 1.16 mg Se as SelPlex™/kg DM, respectively. After four weeks of feeding in individual pens, including one week of adaptation, lambs were exposed to two heat treatments. Animals were moved to metabolism cages for one week and subjected to heat treatments: thermoneutral (TN; 18–21 °C and 40–50% relative humidity) and heat stress (HS; 28–40 °C and 30–40% relative humidity) conditions, respectively. Final LW and hot carcass weight were influenced by dietary treatments with higher final live weight (FLW) (p = 0.05; 46.8 vs. 44.4 and 43.8 kg, respectively) and hot carcass weight (HCW) (p = 0.01; 22.5 vs. 21.3 and 21.0 kg, respectively) recorded in lambs fed the SUP as opposed to the CON and MOD diets. Vitamin E concentration in the longissimus lumborum (LL) muscle tended to be higher in lambs fed MOD or SUP diets than the CON group. Lipid oxidation of aged meat at 72 h of simulated retail display was reduced by antioxidant supplementation. Short-term (one week) heat stress treatment significantly increased muscle linoleic acid and total omega-6 concentrations compared with the CON group. The results demonstrate that four-week antioxidant supplementation at the SUP level improved animal productivity by increasing LW and carcass weight and the functionality of meat exhibited by reduced lipid oxidation. An increase in muscle omega-6 fatty acid concentration from short-term heat stress may induce oxidative stress via proinflammatory action. View Full-Text
Keywords: aged meat; animal performance; fatty acids; linoleic acid; oxidative stress; sheep aged meat; animal performance; fatty acids; linoleic acid; oxidative stress; sheep
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Chauhan, S.S.; Dunshea, F.R.; Plozza, T.E.; Hopkins, D.L.; Ponnampalam, E.N. The Impact of Antioxidant Supplementation and Heat Stress on Carcass Characteristics, Muscle Nutritional Profile and Functionality of Lamb Meat. Animals 2020, 10, 1286.

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