Meat quality of Nguni steers supplemented with Acacia karroo leaf-meal
The objective of the study was to determine the meat quality of Nguni steers supplemented with Acacia karroo leaf-meal. Thirty 19-month old steers were randomly assigned to A. karroo leaf-meal (AK), sunflower cake (SF) and a control (CN) diets. Steers on the AK and SF diets were given an additional 150 g of protein per day for 60 days. The steers were slaughtered at 21 months and the m. longissimus thoracis et lumborum was sampled for meat quality measurements. Steers that received SF diet had lighter-coloured (L*) (P < 0.05) meat than those on AK and CN diets. The highest redness (a*) (17.3 ± 0.29) values were recorded in steers supplemented with AK compared to those that received SF and CN diets. Diet had no effect on pH, drip loss, water holding capacity, sarcomere length, muscle bundle areas, myofibrillar fragment length, Warner-Bratzler shear force and cholesterol values. Steers supplemented with AK (22.4 ± 0.08%) and SF (22.5 ± 0.08%) had higher (P < 0.05) meat protein content than those on the CN (20.2 ± 0.08%) diet. Highest muscle fibre area (3472.6 ± 119.51 μm2), fat content (1.2 ± 0.11%) and cooking loss (25.2 ± 0.73%) of meat aged for 2 days were recorded in steers given the SF diet compared to those on the AK and CN diets. Supplementing Nguni cattle with A. karroo leaf-meal produced beef of comparable quality to natural pasture alone but with a fresher appearance and higher protein content. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.