Ultimate pH values in reindeer meat with particular regard to animal sex and age, muscle and transport distance
Keywords:reindeer, pH, Rangifer tarandus tarandus L, preslaughter handling, meat quality, DFD
AbstractThe distribution of ultimate pH values and the frequency of high pH values in three reindeer muscles (AL longissimus, M. biceps femoris and M. triceps brachii) from bulls, cows and calves after short and long distance transport were studied. About 3400 reindeer carcasses from 12 different herds were included in this study. The post mortem processes in reindeer meat seemed to develop very rapidly, and therefore an early measurement (approx. 15h post mortem) of ultimate pH can be done without electrical stimulation of the carcasses. In a comparison between muscles, M. triceps brachii had a higher ultimate pH value than M. longissimus and M. biceps femoris. Meat from reindeer calves had higher ultimate pH values than meat from adult animals, indicating that calves are more susceptible to stress than adult animals and hence deplete their energy stores more readily. Road transport by lorry did not cause any increase in ultimate pH values in bulls and calves. Reindeer cows, however, did have an increase in ultimate pH, while more borderline cases of DFD (5.80<pH<6.20) were observed when cows were transported over more than 500 km. The physical condition and energy balance of the animals before transport were suggested to determine their ability to tolerate transport stress.
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