Influence of partial and complete caponization on chicken meat quality.

Department of Food Science, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, 40064 Ozzano dell'Emilia, Italy.
Poultry Science (Impact Factor: 1.52). 08/2009; 88(7):1466-73. DOI: 10.3382/ps.2008-00405
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Caponization is a surgical technique adopted to alter the sexual maturation of male chickens with the aim of improving the quality characteristics of carcass and meat. Under commercial conditions within each flock, about 10% of the birds usually result with incomplete caponization and are called slips. A trial was conducted to compare quality traits of breast and thigh meat from capons (n = 12), slips (n = 12), and cocks (unoperated birds; n = 12) (Hubbard x Golden Comet) reared together and processed at 180 d old under commercial conditions. Capons exhibited the highest (P < 0.01) values of breast and thigh meat lightness and yellowness as well as the lowest values of redness (P < 0.01) compared with cocks and slips. These variations in meat color were related to a lower concentration of heme pigments in both breast and thigh meat from capons. Capons and slips presented lower Allo-Kramer shear values of cooked breast meat (P < 0.05) in comparison with cocks. As for chemical composition, capons showed a higher content of total lipid, cholesterol, and ash both in breast and thigh meat. Total saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids were not strongly affected by caponization. However, capons exhibited a significantly higher (P < 0.01) content of linoleic and linolenic acids as well as a lower content of arachidonic, eicosapentaenoic, docosapentaenoic, and docosahexaenoic acids in respect to slips and cocks. Overall, this study indicated that caponization can affect the main meat quality traits with special regards to appearance (color), texture, and composition. Finally, it was found that slips present intermediate meat quality characteristics between capons and cocks.

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