Samples of psoas major and minor muscles were randomly collected weekly from 203 (99 hot and 104 cool seasons) Omani goats, 215 (106 hot and 109 cool seasons) Omani sheep, 212 (104 hot and 108 cool seasons) Somali goats, 242 (127 hot and 115 cool seasons) Somali sheep and 211 (110 hot and 101 cool seasons) Australian Merino sheep slaughtered at the Central Slaughterhouse in Oman to investigate the effect of season on meat quality. The collection period was during November 2004-October 2005 and divided into two seasons according to ambient temperatures and relative humidity. These were termed: cool season (average temperature of 21 °C and 59% relative humidity and hot season (average temperature of 35 °C and 47% relative humidity). Muscles collected during the hot season had significantly (P < 0.05) higher ultimate pH values (5.78) than those collected during the cool season (5.65). Myofibrillar fragmentation index was significantly (P < 0.05) higher for hot season samples (86.88%) than for cool season samples (85.59%). Expressed juice was significantly (P < 0.05) higher for cool season samples (36.84) than for hot season samples (35.74). Goat meat from the hot seasonal group was significantly (P < 0.05) darker than the cold season group based on L* (37.6 vs. 39.6), a* (20.0 vs. 23.3) and b* (3.6 vs. 4.2) colour measurements. These results indicated that high ambient temperatures had caused an increase in muscle ultimate pH leading to significant effects on meat quality.
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