33-Title: Influence of age at slaughter on structural characteristics of meat from Hassan sheep

33-Title: Influence of age at slaughter on structural characteristics of meat from Hassan sheep

Authors: KM Shanthesha, S Wilfred Ruban, HB Shivappa Nayaka, R Guruprasad, R Sharada, S Naveen Kumar S, R Shivakumar and S Sudarshan

Source: Ruminant Science (2022)-11(2):419-423.

How to cite this manuscript: Shanthesha KM, Ruban S Wilfred, Nayaka HB Shivappa, Guruprasad R, Sharada R, S Naveen Kumar, Shivakumar R and Sudarshan S (2022). Influence of age at slaughter on structural characteristics of meat from Hassan sheep. Ruminant Science 11(2):419-423.


The present study was carried out to evaluate the effect of age at slaughter on structural characteristics related to the eating quality of meat from Hassan sheep. A total of 36 male Hassan sheep viz., 12 each in three age groups (6-8 months (T1), 12-15 months (T2) and 30-32 months (T3)) were slaughtered. Structural (shear force, muscle fibre diameter, sarcomere length, muscle fibre diameter, collagen content and solubility, Myofibrillar fragmentation index) characteristics of Longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL) and Semimembranosus (SM) muscles were evaluated. A significant (P<0.05) difference was observed in shear force and muscle fibre diameter between the three age groups in both LTL and SM muscles. T3 recorded the highest shear force and diameter followed by T2 and T1 in both the muscles. In the present study, an increase in the age of the animals resulted in a significantly (P<0.05) higher muscle fibre diameter compared to other age groups and between muscles, SM muscle had a higher muscle fibre diameter compared to LTL muscle. A significant (P<0.05) increase in collagen content and Myofibrillar fragmentation index (MFI) was observed with an increase in age, whereas collagen solubility decreased with age. It was observed that the collagen content increased from T1 to T2 but then decreased with lower collagen content being observed in T3. Based on the results of this study it was evident that meat from Hassan sheep slaughtered at the age of 12-15 months had superior structural characteristics related to meat tenderness which is one of the major factors that influences consumer acceptability.


Berge P, Sanudo C, Sanchez A, Alfonso M, Stamataris C, Thorkelsson G, Piasentier E and Fisher AV(2003). Comparison of muscle composition and meat quality traits in diverse commercial lamb types. Journal of Muscle Foods 14:281-300.

Bindu-Madhuri S and Das N (2014). Effect of age on feeding and idling behaviour of weanling goats reared under stall-fed conditions. Ruminant Science 3(1):79-85.

Blasco M, Campo MM, Balado J and Sanudo C (2019). Effect of texel crossbreeding on productive traits, carcass and meat quality of segureña lambs. Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture 99(7):3335-3342.

Bouton PE, Harris PV, Ratcliff D and Roberts DW (1978). Shear force measurements on cooked meat from sheep of various ages. Journal of Food Science 43:1038-1039.

Bulotiene G and Jukna V (2008). The influence of muscle fibre area on pork quality. Veterinary Zootechnology 42:34-37

Calkins CR, Davis GW and Saunders WL(1980). Fragmentation Index of raw muscle as a tenderness predictor of steaks from USDA commercial and utility carcasses. Journal of Food Science 45:111-118.

Camacho A, Torres A, Capote J, Mata J, Viera J, Bermejo LAand Arguello A (2016). Meat quality of lambs (hair and wool) slaughtered at different live weights. Journal of Applied Animal Research 45:400-408.

Chriki S, Gardner GE, Jurie C, Picard B, Micol D, Brun JP, Journaux L and Hocquette JF (2012). Cluster analysis application identifies muscle characteristics of importance for beef tenderness. BMC Biochemistry 13:29.

Cross H, Smith G and Carpenter Z (1972). Palatability of individual muscles from ovine leg steaks as related to chemical and histological traits. Journal of Food Science 37:282-285.

Davis GW, Dutson TR, Smith GC and Carpenter ZL (1980). Fragmentation procedure for bovine longissimus muscle as an index of cooked steak tenderness. Journal of Food Science 45:880-884.

Gadekar YP, Shinde AK, Soren NM and Karim SA (2014). Effect of different levels of lactobacillus acidophilus culture on carcass traits and meat quality of Malpura lambs. Ruminant Science 3(2): 229-234.

Girish PS, Karabasanavar Nagappa S and Ramakrishna C (2020). Preservation of buffalo meat sample for DNA based meat species authentication. Ruminant Science 9(2):209-214.

Hawkins RR, Kemp JD, Ely DG, Fox JD, Moody WG and Vimini RJ (1987). Carcass and meat characteristics of crossbred lambs born to ewes of different genetic types and slaughtered at different weights. Livestock Production Science 12(3):241-250.

Hopkins DL, Hegarty RS, Walker PJ and Pethick DW (2006). Relationship between animal age, intramuscular fat, cooking loss, pH, shear force and eating quality of aged meat from sheep. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 46:879-84.

Hostetler RL, Link BA, Landmann WA and Fitzhugh Jr HA (1972). Effect of carcass suspension on sarcomere length and shear force of some major bovine muscles. Journal of Food Science 37(1):132-135.

Jeremiah LE and Martin AH (1977). The influence of sex, within breed-of-sire groups, upon the histological properties of bovine longissimus dorsi muscle during postmortem aging. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 57(1):7-14.

Karthik J, Robinson JJ Abrham, Appa Rao V, Parthiban M and Narendra Babu R (2017). A survey on preferred slaughter age of goats in Tamil Nadu, India. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Science 6(10):285-287.

Mahendrakar NS, Dani NP, Ramesh BS and Amla BL (1989). Studies on influence of age of sheep and post-mortem carcass conditioning treatments on muscular collagen content and its thermolability. Journal of Food Science and Technology 26(2):102-105.

Naveena BM, Mendiratta SK and Anjaneyulu ASR (2004). Tenderization of buffalo meat using plant proteases from Cucumis trigonus Roxb (Kachri) and Zingiber officinale roscoe (Ginger rhizome). Meat Science 68(3):363-369.

Neuman RE and Logan MA (1950). The determination of hydroxyproline. Journal of Biological Chemistry 184:299-306.

Ortiz A, Tejerina D, García-Torres S, González E, Morcillo JF and Mayoral AI (2021). Effect of animal age at slaughter on the muscle fibres of longissimus thoracis and meat quality of fresh loin from Iberian × Duroc Crossbred pig under two production systems. Animals 11:2143.

Pandey Anurag, Kumar Yogesh, Saini Ashish, Gurjar AS, Meena Priyanka and Raman Ravi (2016). Development and quality assessment of chevon pickle prepared with spent goat meat. Ruminant Science 5(2):223-226.

Rhee MS, Wheeler TL, Shackelford SD and Koohmaraie M (2004). Variation in palatability and biochemical traits within and among eleven beef muscles. Journal of Animal Science 82:534-550.

Smulders FJM, MarshBB, SwartzDR, Russel RL and Hoenecke MEJ (1990). Beef tenderness and sarcomere length. Meat Science 28:349-363.

Snedecor GW and Cochran WG (1994). Statistical Methods. 8th  Edn, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co, Calcutta, India.

Starkey CP, Geesink GH, Collins D, Oddy VH and Hopkins DL (2016). Do sarcomere length, collagen content, pH, intramuscular fat and desmin degradation explain variation in the tenderness of three ovine muscles? Meat Science 113:51-58.

Veiseth E, Shackelford SD, Wheeler TL and Koohmaraie M (2004). Factors regulating lamb longissimus tenderness are affected by age at slaughter. Meat Science 68:635-640.

Weaver AD, Bowker BC and Gerrard DE (2008). Sarcomere length influences postmortem proteolysis of excised bovine semitendinosus muscle. Journal of Animal Science 86(8):1925-1932.

Weston A, Rogers R and Althen T (2002). The role of collagen in meat tenderness. Professional Animal Science 18:107-111.

Wheeler TL, Shackelford SD, Johnson LP, Miller MF, Miller RK and Koohmaraie M (1997). A comparison of Warner-Bratzler shear force assessment within and among institutions. Journal of Animal Science 75(9):2423-2432.

Wulf DM and Page JK (2000). Using measurements of muscle colour, pH and electrical impedance to augment the current USDA beef quality grading standards and improve the accuracy and precision of sorting carcasses into palatability groups. Journal of Animal Science 78:2595-2607.

Young OA and Braggins TJ (1993). Tenderness of ovine semimembranosus: Is collagen concentration or solubility the critical factor? Meat Science 35:213-222.