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Effects of stunning with different carbon dioxide concentrations and exposure times on suckling lamb meat quality

Bórnez, R., Linares, M.B., Vergara, H.
Meat science 2009 v.81 no.3 pp. 493-498
lambs, suckling, lamb feeding, sheep breeds, slaughter, carbon dioxide, electrical treatment, lamb meat, meat quality, hematoma, lamb carcasses, pH, color, water holding capacity, cooking quality, shear strength, drip loss, plate count, aerobes, rigor mortis, meat aging, storage time
Forty-nine Manchega breed male suckling lambs were used to determine the effect of different stunning methods (using two different CO₂ concentrations and exposure times) on lamb meat quality. The lambs were allocated to five stunning treatments including four CO₂ treatments [80% CO₂ for 90s (G1); 90% CO₂ for 90s (G2); 90% CO₂ for 60s (G3); 80% CO₂ for 60s (G4)] and an electrically stunned control group (G5). The gas-stunning treatments did not cause neither haematomas nor blood splash in the carcasses. Meat quality was evaluated by testing pH, colour (L [low asterisk], a [low asterisk], b [low asterisk], chroma, hue values), water holding capacity (WHC), cooking loss (CL), shear force (SF), drip loss (DL) and total aerobic bacteria. Statistical differences in pH at 24h post-mortem, colour, WHC and CL were not found among groups. After 7 days post-mortem, there were statistical differences among groups in pH (highest in G4 and G5) and in DL (highest in G1). There were differences in SF due to stunning method evident after 72h and 7 days ageing. The statistical differences (P <0.01) among groups on total aerobic bacteria at 24h (lower and higher values in G2 and G5, respectively) disappeared at 7 days post-mortem. As G2 as G3, could be recommended to stunning suckling lambs since a highest stability with ageing time on meat quality was found using 90% CO₂.