Effect of space allowance during transport and fasting or non-fasting during lairage on carcass contamination and meat traits in Merino lamb

Herminia Vergara, Almudena Cózar, Ana I. Rodríguez, Luis Calvo


A total of 72 Merino breed male lambs were used in this work, to study the effect of the space allowance during transport [(SA): low (SAL: 0.16 m2/animal; n=24); medium (SAM: 20 m2/animal; n=24); high (SAH: 0.30 m2/animal; n=24)], and the management during 18 h lairage [(TL): fasting (TL-FAST; n=36) vs feeding (TL-FEED; n=36)] on carcass microbial contamination (total viable count, Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas) and meat quality. Carcasses contamination determination was carried out by swabbing (neck, flank and rump). Meat quality was assessed by pH, colour coordinates, drip loss (DL), shear force (SF) ad lipid oxidation. SA did not have effect on carcass microbiological quality. TL caused a significant effect on total viable count and Pseudomonas spp values. Flank was the most contaminated site. SAL-FEED group showed the highest values of drip loss and lipid oxidation. At 24 h post-mortem, pH values were the highest in fasted lambs. At 7 d post-mortem the lowest pH was found in SAM-FAST group while the highest in SAM-FEED. TL had no effect on SF, DL neither on lipid oxidation values. These results could help to meat industry to decide the best management as in the transportation as during lairage before lambs slaughter.


sheep; transportation; pre-slaughter conditions; carcass-contamination; meat quality

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2017152-10227