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Lipid composition and nutritional quality of intramuscular fat in Charneca-PDO beef

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This paper characterizes the intramuscular fat from longissimus lumborum (LL, relatively red) and semitendinous (ST, relatively white) muscles of Charneca beef from young bulls reared according to the protected designation of origin (PDO) specifications. The content of total lipids, total cholesterol, α-tocopherol and β-carotene, as well as the fatty acid composition, including the isomeric distribution of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), was assessed. Charneca young bulls (n = 10) were raised on a semi-extensive production system, in which animals fed pasture plus concentrate during 15 months. The ST muscle was leaner and had higher percentages of PUFA, in contrast to the LL muscle, which presented higher percentages of SFA and MUFA. Thus, the ST muscle had a higher PUFA/SFA ratio than the LL muscle, although the ratio values of both muscles were inside the recommended figures for the human diet. In contrast, the contents of CLA isomers, total cholesterol, α-tocopherol and β-carotene, as well as the n-6/n-3 ratio, were not influenced by muscle type, thus suggesting no carcass variation for these compounds. In both muscles, the n-6/n-3 ratios were slightly above the dietary guideline for human diet, and the contents of α-tocopherol were very high, indicating a good lipid stability of Charneca-PDO beef. Overall, the results suggest that intramuscular fat of Charneca-PDO beef has good human health–related parameters, with small carcass variation, since the PUFA/SFA and n-6/n-3 ratio values are inside or very close to the recommended figures for the human diet, and the content of α-tocopherol is very high.

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Sampling assistance (Eng. Filomena Ferreira, ACBRP—Associação de Criadores de Bovinos de Raça Preta) and financial support from FCT grant (PTDV/CVT/2006/66114) and individual fellowships to J. M. Pestana (SFRH/PROTEC/2009/50138), A. S. H. Costa (SFRH/BD/2009/61068), P. Costa (SFRH/BPD/2008/46135), S. P. Alves (SFRH/BD/2007/37793) and S. V. Martins (SFRH/BPD/2009/63019) are acknowledged.

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Correspondence to José A. M. Prates.

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Pestana, J.M., Costa, A.S.H., Alfaia, C.M. et al. Lipid composition and nutritional quality of intramuscular fat in Charneca-PDO beef. Eur Food Res Technol 234, 187–196 (2012).

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  • Beef
  • Fatty acids
  • CLA isomers
  • Total cholesterol
  • α-Tocopherol
  • β-Carotene