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1 March 2012 Effects of low-voltage electrical stimulation and aging on lamb meat quality
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Pouliot, E., Gariépy, C., Thériault, M., Avezard, C., Fortin, J., Simmons, N. J. and Castonguay, F. W. 2012. Effects of low-voltage electrical stimulation and aging on lamb meat quality. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 92: 59-66. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of electrical stimulation (ES) and aging time on meat quality of heavy lamb as produced in Quebec. Seventy-six Suffolk-sired crossbred male lambs were slaughtered at a target weight of 50±2 kg. Half of them were electrically stimulated (ES vs. control) at 5-10 min postmortem (21 V; 0.25 A; 60 s). Postmortem pH decline and temperature were monitored. After carcass cutting, longissimus dorsi sections were assigned to aging periods of 1, 3 or 8 d. Temperature decline was the same for both treatments (P=0.749). However, ES carcasses always had a lower pH value than controls during the first 24 h (P<0.001) while the ultimate pH was equivalent (P=0.803). Tenderness, as assessed by either Warner-Bratzler shear force (39 carcasses) or sensory evaluation (35 carcasses) was enhanced by both ES (P<0.001) and aging (P<0.001). At each aging time, tenderness was greater for ES meat. In addition, only 3 d of aging were necessary for ES meat to achieve the tenderness level attained by the controls after 8 d. Sarcomeres were longer (P<0.001) in ES meat than in controls while myofibrillar fragmentation index was not affected by ES treatment (P=0.743). Electrical stimulation also had small effects on color parameters (a*, b* and L*; P<0.01) and flavor (P=0.04). These results provide the first evidence that tenderness of the meat from heavy lambs produced and processed in Quebec could be enhanced by ES, mostly through cold shortening reduction.

E. Pouliot, C. Gariépy, M. Thé riault, C. Avezard, J. Fortin, N. J. Simmons, and F. W. Castonguay "Effects of low-voltage electrical stimulation and aging on lamb meat quality," Canadian Journal of Animal Science 92(1), 59-66, (1 March 2012).
Received: 19 August 2011; Accepted: 1 October 2011; Published: 1 March 2012

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