Meat characteristics of nellore cattle fed different levels of lipid-based diets
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The objective of this study was to determine the effect of the dietary inclusion of lipid-based diets (whole cottonseed and protected fat) on the centesimal composition, fatty acid profile, and sensory properties of meat from finishing Nellore cattle. The study was carried out from August to October 2009. Thirty nine uncastrated Nellore males with average initial body weight of 494.1 ± 10.1 kg and 36 months of age were housed for 63 days in pens with thirteen animals each. A completely randomized design with three treatments and thirteen replications was used. The treatments evaluated were: feed with 2.50% cottonseed (control diet); feed with 11.50% cottonseed; and feed with 3.13% cottonseed added of protected lipid (PL), all on a dry matter basis. No differences between treatments were observed for moisture, protein, and ash contents. However, the addition of protected fat caused an increase in the percentage of ether extract in the meat. Diets containing cottonseed or protected lipid did not affect fatty acid concentration in the meat. The intensity of the aroma, strange aroma, flavor, strange flavor, juiciness, color, and overall appearance were similar between treatments, except for tenderness, which was positively affected in cattle fed a diet in which the only lipid source was cottonseed. The study demonstrated that the addition of PL in the diets of finishing cattle led to greater levels of intramuscular fat, but to less tender meat than the other treatments.