Boosting Lamb Growth and Meat Quality with Pomegranate Pulp

Jim Crocker
22nd May, 2024

Boosting Lamb Growth and Meat Quality with Pomegranate Pulp

Image Source: Julia Schmidt (photographer)

Key Findings

  • The study at the University of Tabriz found that feeding Ghezel lambs pomegranate pulp improved their growth performance and live weight
  • Lambs fed with pomegranate pulp had higher levels of beneficial fats and antioxidants in their meat, enhancing meat quality and shelf life
  • The lambs showed improved blood parameters, indicating better protein metabolism and bone health
The use of agrifood by-products as livestock feed has garnered significant attention due to its potential to enhance animal performance and meat quality while addressing environmental and economic concerns. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Tabriz investigated the effects of incorporating pomegranate pulp into the diets of Ghezel lambs[1]. This study evaluated several parameters including growth performance, blood parameters, carcass traits, and meat quality and shelf life. The study involved 3-month-old Ghezel lambs, which were individually housed and randomly assigned to either a control group or a group supplemented with 100 g/kg dry matter (DM) of sun-dried pomegranate pulp for 28 days. The results were promising, showing that the lambs fed with pomegranate pulp experienced significant improvements in live weight and average daily gains, without a significant change in dry matter intake. These findings align with previous research on the benefits of pomegranate by-products in animal diets. For instance, a study on broiler chickens supplemented with pomegranate by-products found improvements in meat composition, fatty acid profile, and oxidative stability[2]. Similarly, the current study observed that the lambs fed with pomegranate pulp had higher concentrations of intramuscular fat, mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and total unsaturated fatty acids. Additionally, there was an increase in meat phenolic compounds, which are known for their antioxidant properties. The study also reported that the lambs supplemented with pomegranate pulp had a higher ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids. This is significant because a higher ratio is generally considered beneficial for human health. The liver tissue of these lambs showed reduced fat and ash contents, indicating a potential improvement in overall health and metabolic efficiency. One of the critical aspects of meat quality is its oxidative status, which affects shelf life and consumer acceptability. The study found that the meat from lambs fed with pomegranate pulp had improved oxidative status, as indicated by lower thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) values. This finding is consistent with earlier research that demonstrated reduced lipid oxidation in broiler meat supplemented with pomegranate by-products[2]. Furthermore, the study observed improvements in meat quality parameters such as water holding capacity, color, and pH. These attributes are essential for maintaining meat freshness and appeal to consumers. The increase in meat phenolic compounds likely contributed to these improvements, given their known antioxidative properties[3]. In addition to the direct benefits to meat quality, the study also noted changes in blood parameters. Lambs supplemented with pomegranate pulp had increased serum urea and alkaline phosphatase concentrations, which may indicate enhanced protein metabolism and bone health, respectively. The use of total volatile basic nitrogen (TVB-N) as a quality parameter for meat has been gaining traction[4]. High levels of TVB-N are associated with spoilage and reduced meat quality. While the current study did not specifically measure TVB-N, the improvements in oxidative status and meat quality parameters suggest that pomegranate pulp supplementation could potentially mitigate TVB-N levels, thereby extending shelf life and improving meat safety. In conclusion, the study by the University of Tabriz provides compelling evidence that pomegranate pulp can be a valuable addition to the diets of Ghezel lambs, enhancing growth performance, meat quality, and shelf life. These findings not only support the valorization of agrifood by-products but also offer a sustainable solution to improving livestock production. Further research could explore the long-term effects of such dietary interventions and their implications for large-scale livestock farming.

FruitsAgricultureAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Feeding pomegranate pulp to Ghezel lambs for enhanced productivity and meat quality.

Published 22nd May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Meat composition, fatty acid profile and oxidative stability of meat from broilers supplemented with pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) by-products.

3) Pomegranate peel and peel extracts: chemistry and food features.

4) Total volatile basic nitrogen and trimethylamine in muscle foods: Potential formation pathways and effects on human health.

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