Effect of genotype and sex on meat colour changes in rabbit
A study based on 150 carcasses of rabbit crosses of three breeds: Flemish Giant (FG), New Zealand White (NZW) and Californian (CAL) was conducted to determine the changes that occur within the first 24 h post mortem in the meat color parameters, i.e. lightness (L*), redness (a*), yellowness (b*), chroma (C*) and hue (H*), in the rabbits of different genetic groups and sexes. Four groups were formed: FN (FG bucks×NZW does); FC (FG bucks×CAL does); FN×C (FN bucks×CAL does); FN×FN (FN bucks×FN does). Meat colour was measured on the surface of Longissimus dorsi (LD) and biceps femoris (BF), 45 min and 24 h post mortem. The genetic groups differed significantly in the meat colour parameters of the LD and BF muscles at both times after slaughter. After 24 h, a* and b* values of the LD muscle were highest in FC group (18.05 and 6.65, respectively) and the lowest in FN×FN group (16.46 and 4.75, respectively). The greatest color difference (ΔE) of the LD muscle was in FN×FN rabbits (9.85) and the smallest in FC group (5.07). The differences between genetic group in color parameters of the BF muscle were smaller but significant, which indicates that crossbreeding may be used in practice to change meat color. Sex did not influence significantly the color parameters of the muscles at either time, although the a* and C* values of the BF muscle were higher in males than females.