Physicochemical and sensory characterization of meat from Santa Ines sheep fed with cactus forage (Opuntia ficus indica mill)


  • Roberto Germano Costa
  • Ana Gabriela P.Cordeiro
  • Marcone Geraldo Costa
  • Rita de Cassia R.E. Queiroga
  • Paulo Sérgio Azevedo
  • Geovergue Rodrigues Medeiros
  • Francisco F.R. Carvalho


Opuntia, fatty acids, carcass, meat quality, flavor


Forty non-castrated male lambs were randomly assigned to groups fed with cactus forage (0,
17.6, 35.3, 53.2 or 71.1%) in place of buffelgrass hay to evaluate the effects on
physicochemical and sensory properties of sheep meat. There was no influence of weight
loss by cooking, shear force, moisture, lipids and ash (P>0.05). Effects were observed for
protein (P<0.05), initial lightness (P<0.01) and final color (P<0.05) when increasing the level
of cactus forage in the diet. Reduction in saturated fatty acids was found, mainly myristic
acids, and increased levels of monounsaturated fatty acids and oleic acids, due to
biohydrogenation. The use of cactus forage in the diet as a replacement for buffelgrass
significantly influences the content of fatty acids in Santa Ines sheep meat, improving the lipid
profile, without influencing sensory attributes.






Scientific Papers