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Stunning, meat characterization and technology of cull rabbits

Abstract

Fattening rabbits are usually slaughtered at 75 - 90 days of age. However, due to the high replacement rate of does and bucks in rabbit farms, older and heavier animals are discarded and slaughtered at the end of their production cycle, without considering the animal welfare at the slaughtering time and without knowing the carcass traits and the physicochemical properties of their meat, as well as the meat quality of their products. Thus, this study will be comprised of four stages. In the first one, the effects of sex, age and muscles on the evolution of pH in the first 24 hours post-mortem due to the stunning method applied will be evaluated and the time required to establish and resolve the rigor mortis process for the different categories of production rabbits will be determined. In the second stage, the carcass traits and the physicochemical properties of the meat of does and bucks at different slaughter ages will be characterized and evaluated, when live weight at slaughter, weight and yield of cuts and whole carcass, cooling weight loss, exudate volume, pH, soluble protein concentration, color, water holding capacity (WRC), cooking weight loss (CWL), shear force, sarcomere length, myofibrillar fragmentation index (MFI), proximate composition, collagen content, cholesterol content and fatty acid and mineral profiles. In the third stage, meat-based fresh type sausages type will beprepared based on meat from multiparous does at two culling ages (12 and 24 months) and from young nulliparous females (90 days), as well as meat-based fresh type sausages processed with two fat sources (chicken skin and rabbit fat), where pH, color, CWL, shear force and lipid oxidation will be evaluated at different storage times (0, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days). Finally, in the fourth stage, hamburgers will be produced with meat frommultiparous does at two culling ages (12 and 24 months) and from young nulliparous females (90 days of age), when color, pH, PPC, shrinkage percentage, strength of shear and lipid oxidation will be evaluated at different storage times (0, 60 and 120 days). (AU)

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