University Of Tasmania
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Spirulina supplementation, sire breed, sex and basal diet effects on lamb intramuscular fat percentage and fat melting points

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 02:00 authored by Holman, BWB, Aaron FlakemoreAaron Flakemore, Kashani, A, Malau-Aduli, AEO
The effects of Spirulina supplementation, sire breed, sex and basal diet on intramuscular fat percentage (IMF) and fat melting point (FMP) in crossbred and purebred Merino lambs were investigated. Over two consecutive years, a total of 48 lambs was randomly allocated into feeding trials that utilised either ryegrass or Lucerne hay basal diets. Each treatment group had 8 lambs balanced by sire breed (Black Suffolk, Dorset, Merino, White Suffolk), sex (ewes, wethers), and Spirulina supplementation level (CONTROL - unsupplemented, LOW - 50ml, MEDIUM – 100ml, and HIGH – 200ml). Each feeding trial lasted for 9-weeks after 21 days of adjustment. Post-slaughter, IMF content of the Longissimus dorsi et lumborum muscle was determined using solvent extraction and FMP measured using the ‘slip-point’ method. Spirulina supplementation level influenced both IMF content and FMP in which MEDIUM Spirulina supplementation led to a decrease in IMF (1.98%) and FMP (42.97°C) compared to 3.18% and 44.44°C, respectively, in the LOW supplementation treatment group. Sire breed was a significant source of variation in FMP as purebred Merinos had the highest (45.63°C) and Black Suffolk crossbreds the lowest (41.53°C). Ewe lambs had higher IMF than wether lambs (2.52 vs 2.12%). Lambs on the ryegrass basal diet had lower IMF and FMP than their counterparts on Lucerne. Significant interactions between sire breed and supplementation level suggest a variety of nutritional management combinations that prime lamb producers can utilise to optimise meat quality for increasingly health-conscious consumers.


Publication title

International Journal of Veterinary Medicine



Article number









Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


IBIMA Publishing, LLC

Place of publication

United States of America

Rights statement

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Sheep for meat

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