A comparative study of fatty acid profiles of fat in commercial Spanish suckling kids and lambs

Alberto Horcada, Maria del Mar Campo, Oliva Polvillo, Maria Jesus Alcalde, Irene Cilla, Carlos Sañudo


Fatty acid profiles are a major contributor to meat quality in small ruminants. Nevertheless, while fatty acid profiles from suckling lambs have been extensively studied they are virtually unknown in suckling kids. Fatty acid profiles of intramuscular and kidney knob fat depots of suckling kids were compared with fatty acid profiles of lambs with a quality label in the Spanish market. Forty suckling kids from Blanca Celtibérica (BC), Moncaína (Mo), Negra Serrana (NS) and Murciano Granadina (MG) breeds and 20 Churra male suckling lambs labelled with ‘Lechazo de Castilla y León’ Protected Geographic Indication were slaughtered at commercial live weights (12 kg). In both depots differences in the unsaturated fatty acid profile were observed between breeds. The most pronounced differences were observed between meat goat breeds (BC, Mo and NS) and lambs, whilst a greater similarity in the fatty acid profile was observed between kids from dairy goat breeds (MG) and lambs. The lowest polyunsaturated fatty acid content was observed in meat goat breeds (approximately 21 to 22% of total fatty acids detected in the intramuscular fat). No significant differences in atherogenic index and desirable fatty acid content (range 68 to 70% of total fatty acids detected) were observed. However, a more favourable (lower than 8.07) n-6/n-3 ratio was observed in meat goat breeds. The use of fatty acid profiles from intramuscular and kidney knob fat could be proposed as a tool to differentiate goat kids and lambs. The fact that intramuscular fat from suckling kids and lambs shows appropriate lipid nutritional indices and their low carcass fatness indicate that moderate consumption of suckling kid and lamb meat may contribute to an overall balanced diet for humans.


goat kid; lamb kid; intramuscular fat; kidney knob fat; gas chromatography

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2014122-4566