Diet driver of lamb colour
Improving the colour stability of lamb meat through changes in diet, breeding and meat packaging could hold the key to enhancing the retail appeal of lamb to consumers.
With meat colour a key driver of a consumer’s purchasing decision, the new research findings from multi-award winning student Honor Calnan on how to maximise the stability of lamb will assist the industry to improve colour stability and thereby prolong product shelf life.
About Honor Calnan
Honor's research investigated the management and genetic influences on the fresh colour and colour stability of lamb meat, revealing a range of influential factors. These included the fact that meat pH is associated with colour stability – that is, the higher the pH, the faster the meat turns brown.
“We analysed the relationship of meat colour with pH, intramuscular fat, carcass weight, fatty acid profiles, oxidative enzymes, iron, zinc and myoglobin and from this comprehensive study we can now recommend to the lamb industry that meat pH is the key factor that needs to be minimised in order to maximise colour stability,” she said.
Honor was the recipient of the 2013 Innovation Award for Young People in Science. She received a $22,000 research grant, sponsored by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation, which went towards a collaborative research project coordinated within Sheep CRC.
Last year she also received the International Meat Secretariat (IMS) Award for Meat Science and Technology valued at $US5000, as well as the prize for best overall student at the annual Sheep CRC/Meat & Livestock Australia national postgraduate conference.
Take home messages
Meat pH should be minimised in order to maximise colour stability and prolong shelf life.
Genetic selection for increased muscling helps to produce lambs with better meat colour stability.
Increased concentrations of muscle vitamin E are instrumental in improved meat colour stability.
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