The effects of testicular status and diet on the tenderness and flavour intensity of Omani lamb meat were evaluated. Thirty male lambs were divided into three testicular status treatments shortly after birth, entire, castrated or induced to cryptorchidism. The animals were fed a maize and soya bean meal based diet, isocalorically supplemented with either palm fronds or Rhodesgrass hay. The animals were slaughtered at an average age of 161 days and weight of 27.6 kg. Sensory evaluation of meat for tenderness and intensity of flavour were undertaken using descriptive analysis with unstructured scales. Meat from New Zealand lambs was also evaluated for comparison. Meat from castrated lambs tended to be more tender than meat from either entire or cryptorchid lambs. This effect was related to the significantly lower daily weight gains, lower carcass weight and lower intermuscular fat content of castrated lambs. The effect of induced cryptorchidism or inclusion of date frond was not significant on tenderness, nor flavour of the lamb meat. Meat from New Zealand lambs was significantly more tender, but similar in flavour compared to Omani lambs. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
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