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Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

J Sci Food Agric 86:98106 (2006) DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.2325

Effects of feeding regimen and chilled storage on water-holding capacity, colour stability, pigment content and oxidation in red deer (Cervus elaphus) meat
Eva Wiklund,1,2 Sabine Sampels,2 Timothy R Manley,1 Jana Pickova2 and Roger P Littlejohn1
1 AgResearch 2 Swedish

Invermay Agricultural Centre, Puddle Alley, Private Bag 50034, Mosgiel, New Zealand University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Food Science, PO Box 7051, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: The effects of feeding regimen on carcass characteristics, meat colour and lipid stability, pigment content and water-holding capacity of M. longissimus were studied in 16 male red deer. All animals were farm raised; eight were grazing pasture and eight were fed a pelleted commercial feed mixture for 10 weeks prior to slaughter. The pellet-fed deer had signicantly higher live weight, carcass weight, dressing yield (g kg1 ) and fat content than the pasture group. Carcasses from the pellet-fed deer had higher temperatures over 010 h post mortem than carcasses from the grazing animals, probably due to an insulating fat cover. Ultimate pH values were lowest in meat from the pellet-fed deer. The meat from the grazing deer had signicantly better colour stability at 1 day post-slaughter and after 1, 3 and 6 weeks of refrigerated storage (1.5 C) in vacuum bags. After 3, 6 and 12 weeks of refrigerated storage the meat from the pellet-fed deer had signicantly higher drip loss. No difference was found in the amount of oxidation products (thiobarbituric reactive substances, TBARS) when comparing the treatment groups, although the amount of TBARS increased during storage. Muscle pigment content was signicantly higher in grazing deer than in the pellet-fed group. It was not possible to conrm a correlation between lipid and pigment oxidation in the meat, and the pigment content of the meat samples did not seem to have an inuence on colour stability or oxidation product formation. 2005 Society of Chemical Industry

Keywords: meat quality; venison; natural pasture; commercial feed; chilled storage; TBARS

INTRODUCTION The use of various deer species as grazing animals in extensive pasture-based systems is important to many countries all over the world. Deer meat (venison) produced in these extensive systems is often valued by consumers as an ecological and ethical alternative to the commercially produced beef, pork and chicken.1 Venison is a high quality product that also has several other attributes attractive to health conscious consumers, e.g. low fat content, favourable fat composition and high levels of minerals.2,3 New Zealand has pioneered the development of farm-based production systems for deer, where one important component for the deer industry has been to dene production systems that give distinctive and high-value attributes to venison.

Oxidation in general causes shelf-life quality deterioration in meat.4 Lipid oxidation is responsible for the development of off-odours and off-avours; and muscle pigment oxidation affects meat colour, which is of signicant importance in consumer purchase decisions for fresh meat.4 Previous and recent research has demonstrated quality differences in meat from ruminants (beef, reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus)) that have been grazing pasture or fed grain-based feed mixtures.3,5 9 Red deer meat on display had poor colour stability compared with beef, and it was suggested that the deer meat is prone to oxidative deterioration possibly due to high levels of pro-oxidants like iron (Fe) and copper (Cu).2,10

Correspondence to: Eva Wiklund, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Reindeer Research Program, PO Box 757200, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-7200, USA E-mail: ffemw2@uaf.edu Contract/grant sponsor: Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS) Contract/grant sponsor: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Contract/grant sponsor: New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Received 27 September 2004; revised version received 22 March 2005; accepted 25 May 2005) Published online 25 August 2005 98

2005 Society of Chemical Industry. J Sci Food Agric 00225142/2005/$30.00

Effects of feeding regimen and chilled storage on carcass characteristics of red deer

Contradictory results have been reported regarding the effects of various feeding regimens (pasture versus grain-based concentrates) and dietary manipulations of the feed (added antioxidants) and their effect on meat colour and lipid stability. A positive correlation between colour and lipid stability in beef was reported by Liu et al 11 and vitamin E supplementation of the cattle diet suppressed both colour and lipid oxidation in the meat. Studies of beef,12 pork13 and sika deer meat (Cervus nippon)14 also demonstrated positive effects of vitamin E supplementation on meat colour and lipid stability. Meat from pasture-raised cattle had reduced meat colour compared with grain fed animals at the day of slaughter, although this difference disappeared after ageing of the beef.15 After ageing though, the grazing increased lipid oxidation in the meat samples. In the same study, supplementation of both diets (pasture and grain) with vitamin E did not have any effects on beef colour and lipid stability.15 The purpose of the present study was to compare the water-holding capacity, colour stability, pigment content and levels of oxidation products in meat from a group of red deer that had grazed natural pastures and a group fed a commercial pelleted feed mixture. In addition, the comparison of carcass parameters was included.

One day post mortem, LD from the left side were excised, cut into ve pieces that were randomly allocated to sampling at 1 day post mortem, 1, 3, 6 or 12 weeks of refrigerated storage at 1.5 C. Samples allocated for storage were vacuum packaged in nonoxygen-permeable bags. Each muscle was sampled at 1 day post mortem to determine pigment content, amount of oxidation products (TBARS) and for colour measurements. Drip loss (purge in the vacuum bags) and colour measurements were done after 1, 3, 6 and 12 weeks of refrigerated storage (1.5 C) and TBARS in the stored meat samples were analysed after 6 and 12 weeks of storage. Temperature and pH measurements For calibration of the pH equipment, buffers of pH 7.0 and 4.0 (Orion, Waltham, MA, USA) at room temperature (20 C) were used. Temperature was measured with a digital thermometer (Ebro, TFX 392 SK-S, Ingolstadt, Germany) and pH values were measured with a portable pH meter (Orion, model 265) equipped with a Xerolyte electrode (InLab 427, Mettler Toledo, Greifensee, Switzerland). The pH meter was adjusted to muscle temperature at each measurement. Water-holding capacity Drip loss (purge) was measured by the following procedure: (1) the combined weight of muscle and the vacuum pack was recorded before opening; (2) at opening, any surplus drip on the meat was removed using a paper towel and the drip-free weight of the meat recorded. The combined dry bag (average weight of 25 empty vacuum bags) and drip-free meat weights were subtracted from the unopened package weight to derive the total drip weight. Drip weight was then expressed as a proportion (g kg1 ) of the original weight of meat packed. Colour Triplicate colour measurements were made on each freshly cut steak 2 h after opening the vacuum bag, then twice daily using a Minolta Chroma meter (CR300, Osaka, Japan) as found appropriate for venison.17 Days of acceptable colour (display life) were calculated as the time taken to reach an a value of 12 using linear interpolation between consecutive samples, as has been used previously for venison.17,18 Pigment content The Nit409 method19 was used for analysing the pigment content in the meat samples. Sub-samples of 3 g of meat were used and these were homogenized with 30 ml of 0.04 mol L1 phosphate buffer using a Sorvall OmniMixer blender (DuPont Co, Newtown, CT, USA) for 30s (at a speed of 6 on a scale from 1 to 10). The samples were kept on ice and put in an IEC PR7000 centrifuge (Thermo Electron Corp, Needham Heights, MA, USA) at 7800 g and 4 C for 15 min. After centrifugation, 4 mL of each sample
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MATERIAL AND METHODS Animals A total of 16 male red deer (age 1 year) was included in the study. Eight animals had grazed pasture and eight had been fed a commercial pelleted feed mixture for 10 weeks prior to slaughter. The feeding of the animals was carried out at AgResearch, Invermay Agricultural Centre, Mosgiel, New Zealand. The red deer pellets used was a commercial feed (Standard Deer Nuts, Reliance Stockfoods Ltd, Dunedin, New Zealand). The main composition of Standard Deer Nuts is (g kg1 ): crude protein 13.6, fat 2.8, crude bre 7.4 with a metabolizable energy of 11.0 MJ kg1 . The animals were exposed to normal pre-slaughter handling, including yarding at the farm, a short transport and subsequent overnight lairage at a deer slaughter premises. At slaughter all animals were stunned with a captive bolt. The slaughter procedure included electrical stimulation of the carcasses using a MIRINZ (Meat Industry Research Institute, New Zealand) low voltage stimulator (rectangular pulses, with 7.5 ms duration positive pulses only and an output of 9095 V).16 Carcasses were stimulated with a battery clip attached to the upper lip of the jaw and a stainless steel hook contacting the anus. Current was applied for 55 s during exanguination. Dressed carcass weights and grading score were recorded. Temperature and pH values were measured in M. longissimus (LD; at the last rib) at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 24 h post mortem. Samples from the left side LD (at the last rib) were taken at 30 min post mortem and frozen in liquid nitrogen (196 C).
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was mixed with 1.4 mL of 0.15 mol L1 TritonX100 solution and 100 L of 0.065 mol L1 sodium nitrite solution, the samples were shaken and kept at room temperature (20 C) for 1 h. The amount of oxidized pigment was measured as metmyoglobin at a wavelength of 410 nm using a spectrophotometer Unicam Spectronic UV 300 (Spectronic Analytical Instruments, Leeds, UK). Lipid oxidation products (TBARS) For the analysis of TBARS a slightly modied method by Miller20 was used to prepare samples before analyses by spectrophotometer. Analyses were done in duplicates. The semi-frozen samples were minced, connective tissues and visible fat were removed, and a sub-sample of approximately 1 g of muscle tissue was taken for extraction. The samples were homogenized with 9.1 mL of 0.61 mol L1 trichloroacetic acid (TCA) solution and 0.2 mL of 0.09 mol L1 butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) in methanol, using an Ultra Turrax (Janke & Kunkel, Staufen, Germany, T25 IKA-Labortechnik,) for 2 20 s at a speed of approximately 17 000 rpm. Afterwards the homogenate was ltered through a Munktell paper 00k (Munktell Filter AB, Grycksbo, Sweden). Two times 1.5 mL of the ltrate were transferred to new tubes and 1.5 mL of a 0.02 mol L1 solution of thiobarbituric acid (TBA) was added to the rst (test sample) and 1.5 mL water to the second (sample blank). After a reaction time in room temperature (20 C) of 1520 h (overnight) in darkness, the reaction complex was detected at a wavelength of 530 nm using a spectrophotometer (UV 2401 PC, Shimadzu, Kyoto, Japan). Quantication was done by using malondialdehyde (MDA) as external standard and a blank was measured to detect background absorbance. Amounts of TBARS were calculated as MDA equivalents by subtracting the blank from all standards and samples and by subtracting the sample blank from each sample. Statistical analysis Live weight, carcass and pigment measurements were analysed by analysis of variance, tting treatment. The same model was used for analysing pH, temperature, drip loss, colour and lipid oxidation products data at each time. No more detailed analysis of the repeated measures aspects of these data was found necessary, as the univariate analyses conveyed a clear description of the process. The rst principal components (pcps) were calculated for (a) Minolta a values measured after 2 h of blooming at +4 C on samples stored for 1 day, 1, 3, 6 and 12 weeks (1.5 C), (b) colour display life calculated for the same storage periods, and (c) lipid oxidation measured as amounts of TBARS at 1 day, 6 and 12 weeks of storage. The correlation matrix was then calculated between pigment content and these derived variables. All statistical analyses were conducted using GenStat.21
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RESULTS Carcass characteristics The pellet-fed deer had signicantly higher live weights, carcass weights, dressing yield (g kg1 ) and fat content compared with the animals from pasture (Table 1). pH and temperature decline in LD over 24 h post mortem The carcasses from the grazing deer had signicantly lower LD mean temperature (P 0.05) compared with the carcasses from the pellet-fed animals at all the measured times post mortem except at 24 h when no difference was found (Fig. 1a). The pH values measured in LD from the pellet-fed deer were signicantly lower at 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 24 h post mortem (P 0.05) than in LD from the grazing animals
Table 1. Mean live weight and carcass parameters of the red deer from two feeding treatments (pasture and pellets) included in the study, with standard errors of the difference (SED)

Trait Live weight (kg) Carcass weight (kg) Dressing (%) GRDa
a

Pasture (n = 8) 110.0 57.1 51.8 2.9

Pellets (n = 8) 122.3 71.0 58.1 5.9

SED 5.06 3.08 0.76 0.98

P-value 0.029 0.001 0.001 0.008

Fat depth over the twelfth rib, 160 mm from the midline of the back (site of measurement adjusted from lamb carcasses to deer carcasses).

40

(a)

temperature

30

20

10

0 6.0

(b)

5.8 pH 5.6 5.4 0 5 10 15 Hours post-slaughter 20


Figure 1. Mean temperature (a) and pH (b) proles in M. longissimus from the red deer from two treatments ( pasture grazing and pellet fed, n = 8 in each group) included in the study, measured at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 24 h post mortem, with error bars indicating standard errors of difference (SED).

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Effects of feeding regimen and chilled storage on carcass characteristics of red deer

(Fig. 1b). However, at 0.5, 1 and 2 h post mortem, no differences in pH values were found (Fig. 1b). pH at 24 h post mortem and during storage The pH values measured at 24 h post mortem and after one week of refrigerated storage were signicantly higher in LD from the grazing deer compared with the LD from the pellet-fed deer (Table 2). No differences were found at the other storage times (Table 2). Drip loss At one week post mortem, there was no signicant difference in drip loss between the two treatment groups, but after 3, 6 and 12 weeks of refrigerated storage the meat from pellet-fed deer had the signicantly higher drip loss (Table 3). Pigment content The meat from grazing deer had signicantly more pigment compared with the pellet-fed animals (Table 3). There were no signicant correlations between pigment content and the principal components for Minolta a values measured at 2 h on samples stored for 1 day, 1, 3, 6 and 12 weeks, colour display life (hours of Minolta a value 12) calculated from the same storage periods and TBARS at 1 day, 6 and 12 weeks of storage. The correlations were 0.45, 0.18 and 0.2, respectively (P > 0.05 in all cases).
Table 2. Mean ultimate pH values (measured 24 h post-slaughter) and pH values after 1, 3, 6 and 12 weeks of refrigerated storage (1.5 C) in M. longissimus from the red deer from two feeding treatments (pasture and pellets) included in the study, with standard errors of the difference (SED)

120 110 100 90 Display life (hours) 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 1 3 6 Weeks post-slaughter 12

Figure 2. Mean display life (hours of Minolta a value 12) in M. longissimus from the red deer from two treatments ( pasture grazing and pellet fed, n = 8 in each group) included in the study, measured at 1 day, 1, 3, 6 and 12 weeks of refrigerated storage (1.5 C), with error bars indicating standard error of difference (SED).

Table 4. Maximum Minolta a values (a max) and Minolta a values measured after 2 h of blooming at +4 C (a 2h) in M. longissimus from the red deer from two feeding treatments (pasture and pellets) included in the study, measured at 1 day, 1, 3, 6 and 12 weeks post mortem (mean values and standard errors of the difference (SED)

Trait a max 1 day 1 week 3 weeks 6 weeks 12 weeks a 2 h 1 day 1 week 3 weeks 6 weeks 12 weeks

Pasture (n = 8) 19.26 23.89 23.35 22.25 21.17 16.01 21.91 22.38 20.97 20.67

Pellets (n = 8) 21.40 24.84 25.01 23.12 22.41 18.26 22.66 23.20 22.37 22.08

SED 0.326 0.501 0.546 0.584 0.743 0.558 0.537 0.748 0.423 0.660

P-value 0.001 0.076 0.009 0.162 0.117 0.001 0.182 0.289 0.005 0.052

Trait pH values in M. longissimus 24 h 1 week 3 weeks 6 weeks 12 weeks

Pasture Pellets (n = 8) (n = 8) 5.45 5.51 5.51 5.54 5.55 5.42 5.48 5.51 5.53 5.54

SED 0.014 0.010 0.016 0.010 0.008

P-value 0.054 0.032 0.880 0.299 0.090

Table 3. Mean values for drip loss (purge) and pigment content in M. longissimus from the red deer from two feeding treatments (pasture and pellets) included in the study, with standard errors of the difference (SED)a

Trait Purge (%) 1 week 3 weeks 6 weeks 12 weeks Pigment content (mg g1 )
a

Pasture (n = 8) 1.53 2.47 3.60 3.91 7.44

Pellets (n = 8) 1.98 3.68 4.53 6.21 7.27

SED 0.280 0.411 0.408 0.353 0.083

P-value 0.134 0.011 0.040 0.001 0.045

Colour The meat from the grazing deer had a signicantly (P 0.01) better colour stability at 1 day, 1, 3 and 6 weeks of refrigerated storage than the meat from the animals fed pellets (Fig. 2). After 12 weeks of storage there was no signicant difference between treatment groups in display life of the meat (Fig. 2). The difference in display life between treatments decreased with storage time (Fig. 3). The highest Minolta a values were registered in meat samples from the pellet-fed deer, and these samples also bloomed better, i.e. they developed a brighter red colour after a fresh cut slice of meat had been left at +4 C for 2h, than meat from the grazing animals (Table 4). TBARS There was no signicant difference between the two treatment groups in the amount of TBARS in the meat
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Purge was measured after different storage times (1 week, 3 weeks, 6 weeks and 12 weeks at 1.5 C).

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24 22 20 18 16 a* 14 12 10 8 6 24 22 20 18 16 a* 14 12 10 8 6 0 20 40 60 80 Hours on display 100 120 22 20 18 16 a* 14 12 10 8 6 0 20 40 60 Hours on display 80 12 weeks 1 week 6 weeks 1 day 3 weeks

Figure 3. Mean Minolta a value in M. longissimus from the red deer from two treatments ( pasture grazing and pellet fed, n = 8 in each group) included in the study, measured at 1 day post mortem, 1 (2120 h of display), 3, 6 and 12 weeks (284 h of display) of refrigerated storage (1.5 C), with error bars indicating standard error of difference (SED).

at 1 day post-slaughter or after 6 weeks of refrigerated storage (Fig. 4). However, when the meat had been stored for 12 weeks, samples from the pellet fed animals had a tendency towards higher amounts of TBARS (P = 0.067) compared with samples from the grazing group (Fig. 4). There was a highly signicant (P 0.001) increase in TBARS of 0.22 g g1 (SED 0.037) when comparing fresh meat and the samples stored for six weeks, while the corresponding increase from 6 to 12 weeks of storage of 0.057 g g1 (SED 0.044) was not signicant (Fig. 4).
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DISCUSSION The present results are in good agreement with reindeer studies performed earlier, where the use of pellets improved muscle glycogen content, meat ultimate pH values, nutritional status and carcass weights.22 24 However, in studies of carcasses from feral, grass-fed and feedlot-raised red deer the results indicated that variation in carcass fatness was mainly a function of carcass weight and not environment.25 In our present study, the ultimate pH values were signicantly lower (P 0.05) in LD from the pelletfed deer, all indicating that these animals were in
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Effects of feeding regimen and chilled storage on carcass characteristics of red deer
Pasture Pellets

0.6 0.5 TBARS (g g1) 0.4 0.3

SED 0.2 0.1 0.0 1 day 6 weeks 12 weeks

Figure 4. Mean TBARS values in M. longissimus from the red deer from two treatments (pasture grazing and pellet fed, n = 8 in each group) included in the study, measured at 1 day post mortem, and after 6 and 12 weeks of refrigerated storage (1.5 C), with error bars indicating standard error of difference (SED).

better physical condition and nutritional status than the grazing deer. Temperature and pH decline in LD from the deer in the present study followed a similar pattern to that reported in an earlier study evaluating the effects of electrical stimulation of red deer carcasses.18 The signicant differences in LD temperatures between the two treatment groups in the present study, where the meat from the pellet-fed group had higher temperatures, could possibly be explained by the fact that these carcasses had a thicker fat cover that insulated the meat and slowed down the cooling process. Conditions of low pH and high temperatures in post mortem muscle reduce the water-holding capacity of meat, an effect attributed to the denaturation of muscle proteins, particularly myosin.26 The denaturating conditions usually arise when the pH decline is very rapid, as in the PSE (pale, soft, exudative) condition in pork, but can also occur when normal rates of pH decline combine with very slow chilling.27 Electrical stimulation, by accelerating the pH decline, contributed to reduced water-holding capacity in beef, though the magnitude of the effect depended on chilling rate.28,29 Wiklund et al 18 reported no effects of electrical stimulation on water-holding capacity of red deer meat under the chilling conditions commonly used in the commercial deer slaughter premises in New Zealand, where also the present study using electrical stimulation was performed. In some recent comparisons of quality characteristics of meat from pasture raised animals versus animals fed various concentrates or supplements, no effects on the water-holding properties of beef,30 lamb31 33 and fallow deer (Dama dama) meat34 have been reported. The present results showed a signicantly lower drip loss (purge) in meat from the pasture-raised deer compared with the group fed pellets starting after three weeks of storage. This difference in purge between the two treatment groups then increased over the time
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period (up to 12 weeks post-slaughter) the meat samples were chill-stored at 1.5 C (Table 3). However, the drip loss was generally much higher in all meat samples in the present study compared with the earlier mentioned red deer study.18 The slightly slower cooling rate combined with lower pH values in carcasses from the pellet-fed deer in the present study probably contributed to the higher drip losses in these meat samples. It is also suggested that the differences in drip loss between the two present treatments could be related to a variation in meat composition (i.e. levels of antioxidants like vitamin E). Previous studies have demonstrated a positive relationship between levels of vitamin E and increased water-holding capacity in pork.35 Of the number of pigments that are present in muscle, myoglobin makes the principal contribution to meat colour.11 The muscle pigment content varies between animal species, e.g. values of 15 g Fe g1 for chicken, 1620 g Fe g1 for beef, 1929 g Fe g1 for emu and 2230 g Fe g1 for ostrich have been reported.36 The pigment content in the deer meat in the present study was equivalent to about 24 g Fe g1 . Other factors that have been shown to cause variation in pigment content are muscle type (red oxidative or white glycolytic muscles)37,38 and animal age,39 with more oxidative muscles and older animals having an increased amount of pigment content. The amount of haemic iron and thereby pigment in meat is also dependent on the iron intake through feed. The colour of veal was positively correlated to the amount of iron in the diet.40 In the present study, the difference in pigment content in meat from grazing and pelletfed deer might be related to the different diets. Gatellier et al 41 also reported on differences in pigment content of beef from grazing cattle and animals fed a mixed diet. Our present results did not show a correlation between colour stability and pigment content. Higher Minolta a values (measuring the redness of the meat) were recorded in meat samples from the pellet-fed deer which also had the lowest pigment content. The higher a values of the meat from our pellet-fed animals measured at 1 day post mortem could be explained by the lower 24-h pH values, as low pH leads to a lower mitochondrial activity and oxygen consumption42 and thereby to a faster oxygenation of the myoglobin to oxymyoglobin (MbO2 ) and a more efcient blooming43 as well as to a deeper MbO2 layer.44 The depth of the MbO2 layer inuences both the degree of lightness and the saturation of the colour.45 A redder colour of beef at 24 h post mortem has been related to the effects of electrical stimulation, e.g. the combination of low pH values and high temperatures.43 It has been suggested that this combination can result in lower enzyme activity due to the denaturation of proteins as mentioned previously.26 Decreased enzyme activities results in lower oxygen consumption and thereby higher oxygenation rate and a faster blooming.43
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The browning of meat, which determines the colour display life, is a reaction due to the oxidation of MbO2 to metmyoglobin (metMb).43 The speed of the colour oxidation process is dependent on several factors like antioxidant content, oxygen consumption and reducing enzyme activity in the meat.42,46 In the present study the meat samples from the pasture raised deer had signicantly longer colour display life compared with meat from the pellet fed deer, both as fresh samples at 1 day post-slaughter and after 3 and 6 weeks of refrigerated storage (1.5 C). After 12 weeks of storage no difference in colour display life between the treatments was found. Grazing usually leads to higher amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the meat,8 which should be more prone to oxidation47 and thereby lead to a lower colour stability, as positive correlations between colour and lipid oxidation have been found.42 In general, differences between pasture and grain-based diets may also include differences in antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotenoids and avonoids, all which can protect against lipid and colour oxidation.42,48 We found a better colour stability of the meat from pasture-raised deer in the present study, which might be due to a higher amount of vitamin E in these meat samples (unpublished data). As green feed is a good source of these natural antioxidants compared with grains49 this might explain the improved colour stability in the samples from grazing deer compared with the pellet-fed group in our present study. In fresh meat the rate of metMb formation is mainly due to the ability of the muscle to consume oxygen i.e. the higher the oxygen penetration into the muscle the faster the browning,50 whereas it is stated that in aged meat metmyoglobin reducing capacity becomes more important.43 In the present study the faster browning of the fresh meat from pellet-fed animals might have depended on the lower pH 24 h post mortem, that could have caused lower oxygen consumption in the meat as described by Faustman and Cassens,42 which led to a higher oxygen penetration and thereby to faster browning. Meat aged in vacuum packages blooms more rapidly than fresh meat due to loss of oxygen utilization.43 Our present results are in good agreement with this, since all vacuum-packed stored meat samples from both treatment groups showed higher a values compared with the values measured at 1 day post mortem. The fact that the display life of our meat samples decreased over the storage period also agrees with the theory about a loss of metmyoglobin reducing capacity in aged meat.43 Another possible explanation to the fact that the meat from the pellet-fed deer discoloured faster than the meat from grazing animals could be a lower reducing enzyme activity as an effect of protein denaturation due to pH decline at higher temperature.26 It can be argued that the consequences of oxygen consumption and enzyme activity on colour
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display life, as discussed above, might have more inuence with prolonged storage time and therefore ultimately will eliminate the effects of antioxidants and the speculated differences due to diet in our present study. In contrast to the present results on colour display life, there was no difference in lipid oxidation analysed as TBARS between samples from grazing or pellet-fed animals. However, after 12 weeks of storage a tendency towards higher amounts of TBARS (P = 0.067) in the meat from the pellet group could be observed. The effect of storage time was signicant though over the rst 6 weeks after which the oxidation process seemed to slow down. It is therefore suggested that in this trial the diet of the deer inuenced lipid oxidation product formation to a lesser degree than did storage time, which is in contrast to the results of Rhee et al 38 who found a positive correlation between haeme content (pigment) and lipid oxidation measured as TBARS. However, we found relatively small differences in pigment content between our treatment groups in the present study compared with the larger differences of Rhee et al.38 In general, the storage method used in our present study led to a signicant increase in lipid oxidation products already after 6 weeks, although after 12 weeks of storage the values found were still below 2 mg MDA kg1 meat. This level has been demonstrated to be critical in beef samples, where consumers could detect rancidity in the meat at TBARS contents corresponding to this amount of MDA.51

CONCLUSIONS In the present comparison of grazing and pelletfed red deer, the pellet-fed group showed evidence of a better nutritional status (measured as carcass characteristics and meat ultimate pH values). Meat from grazing animals had superior colour stability and water-holding capacity. It is speculated that the used storage method (samples stored at 1.5 C) could have protected the samples better from lipid oxidation than normal chilled storage at +24 C. Our results also suggest that meat pigment oxidation occurs faster than lipid oxidation and thereby reveals effects of diet and storage earlier than measurements of lipid oxidation. The relatively small differences in pigment content of the meat samples did not seem to have an inuence on colour stability or lipid oxidation. We believe that the composition of the two diets studied, e.g. the content of antioxidants as well as the lipid and fatty acid composition, have inuenced the present results. Therefore, a study in progress will discuss the mentioned quality parameters connected to lipids in the meat.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to thank the staff at Otago Venison, Mosgiel and Syd Duncan for all their
J Sci Food Agric 86:98106 (2006)

Effects of feeding regimen and chilled storage on carcass characteristics of red deer

assistance and co-operation in connection with the collection of samples and Elisa Achard for the analyses of TBARS. We are also grateful to Ian Corson for his help with animal management during feeding and weight registrations of the deer. Financial support for this work was provided by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS), the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (travel scholarship for Sabine Sampels) and by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. REFERENCES
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