Nowadays, animal welfare is driving consumers’ purchase choice, hence the challenge to recover rabbit sector from many years of downturn is to find a valuable compromise between animal welfare, farmers’ needs, and meat quality. Among the efforts to improve rabbit welfare, mirrors have been proposed as cages or pens enrichment; however, it is unclear if they affect rabbit meat quality. Hence, the present study aimed to evaluate the effect of the use of mirrors into free-range areas on color, weight loss, pH, water holding capacity (WHC), fatty acid profile (FA), conjugated dienes (CD) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) of both fresh and stored rabbit meatballs. Specifically, rabbits were divided in three farming groups: in the open group (OG) the rabbits of three replicates could see and smell each other; in the closed group (CG), plastic sheets isolated each replicate; the replicates of the mirror group (MG) were confined as the CG but animals could mirror themselves thanks to two mirrors (120 × 40 cm each) placed inside the area. After 49 days, nine rabbits from each group were slaughtered, their carcass meat was minced to form 40 meatballs for each group destined to be analyzed (n=10) immediately (T0), and after 20 (T20), 40 (T40), and 80 (T80) days of frozen storage (-10°C). The meatballs physical traits were similar among the farming groups, while the pH value was lower in MG (6.02) than OG (6.07), and CG (6.07) meat (P < 0.05). The farming slightly affected the FA content, being the PUFAn-3 amount between 60 and 121 mg/100 g (P > 0.05). Concerning the oxidative status, both CG and MG groups had higher (P < 0.01) TBARS than the OG, while the CDs were unaffected. The duration of storage modified all the physical traits, for instance the weight loss increased (P < 0.001) and the WHC diminished (-5.86%) during the early 20 days. Only the OG group showed a specific ability to maintain its redness value till the T40. Even though the overall PUFAn-3 fraction did not vary, both C20:5n-3 and C22:5n-3 were halved (P < 0.01) and CD (P < 0.001) doubled during the early 20 days. In conclusion, the OG farming was the best method for improving meat quality; however, mirrors can minimize the negative effects of a confined housing on the quality items, hence representing a valuable environmental enrichment.

Use of mirrors into free-range areas: effects on rabbit meat quality and storage stability / Giulia Secci, Fulvia Bovera, Nadia Musco, Yara Husein, Giuliana Parisi. - In: LIVESTOCK SCIENCE. - ISSN 1871-1413. - ELETTRONICO. - 104094:(2020), pp. 1-12. [10.1016/j.livsci.2020.104094]

Use of mirrors into free-range areas: effects on rabbit meat quality and storage stability

Giulia Secci
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Fulvia Bovera
Writing – Review & Editing
;
Yara Husein
Formal Analysis
;
Giuliana Parisi
Supervision
2020

Abstract

Nowadays, animal welfare is driving consumers’ purchase choice, hence the challenge to recover rabbit sector from many years of downturn is to find a valuable compromise between animal welfare, farmers’ needs, and meat quality. Among the efforts to improve rabbit welfare, mirrors have been proposed as cages or pens enrichment; however, it is unclear if they affect rabbit meat quality. Hence, the present study aimed to evaluate the effect of the use of mirrors into free-range areas on color, weight loss, pH, water holding capacity (WHC), fatty acid profile (FA), conjugated dienes (CD) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) of both fresh and stored rabbit meatballs. Specifically, rabbits were divided in three farming groups: in the open group (OG) the rabbits of three replicates could see and smell each other; in the closed group (CG), plastic sheets isolated each replicate; the replicates of the mirror group (MG) were confined as the CG but animals could mirror themselves thanks to two mirrors (120 × 40 cm each) placed inside the area. After 49 days, nine rabbits from each group were slaughtered, their carcass meat was minced to form 40 meatballs for each group destined to be analyzed (n=10) immediately (T0), and after 20 (T20), 40 (T40), and 80 (T80) days of frozen storage (-10°C). The meatballs physical traits were similar among the farming groups, while the pH value was lower in MG (6.02) than OG (6.07), and CG (6.07) meat (P < 0.05). The farming slightly affected the FA content, being the PUFAn-3 amount between 60 and 121 mg/100 g (P > 0.05). Concerning the oxidative status, both CG and MG groups had higher (P < 0.01) TBARS than the OG, while the CDs were unaffected. The duration of storage modified all the physical traits, for instance the weight loss increased (P < 0.001) and the WHC diminished (-5.86%) during the early 20 days. Only the OG group showed a specific ability to maintain its redness value till the T40. Even though the overall PUFAn-3 fraction did not vary, both C20:5n-3 and C22:5n-3 were halved (P < 0.01) and CD (P < 0.001) doubled during the early 20 days. In conclusion, the OG farming was the best method for improving meat quality; however, mirrors can minimize the negative effects of a confined housing on the quality items, hence representing a valuable environmental enrichment.
2020
104094
1
12
Giulia Secci, Fulvia Bovera, Nadia Musco, Yara Husein, Giuliana Parisi
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Utilizza questo identificatore per citare o creare un link a questa risorsa: https://hdl.handle.net/2158/1195130
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