Effect of nutritive level on carcass traits and meat quality of IHDH foals
The present work describes the effect of nutritive level on horse carcass traits and on meat quality. Eighteen male Italian Heavy Draught Horse (IHDH) breed foals were employed in the study. Soon after foaling they were randomly subdivided into three groups according to three nutritive level classes: 150%, 180% and 200% of maintenance requirements. Live weight, hot carcass weight and dressing percentage of each animal were recorded. After slaughtering, meat samples were collected from Longissimus dorsi muscle. The right half carcass of each animal was then divided into cuts. Each one was subdivided into lean, fat and bones. Live weight, carcass weight and dressing percentage were not affected by nutritive level (P > 0.05). Horses fed with the lower nutritive level showed a higher incidence of lean and a lower incidence of fat (P < 0.01). Moreover, fatty acid profile was not affected by nutritive level (P > 0.05). Probably the tendency of IHDH foals to concentrate adipogenesis in the subcutaneous district could explain the lack of influence of nutritive level on meat quality parameters and its influence on carcass and cut composition, which tend to be richer in fat.
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