BACKGROUND: Supra-nutritional vitamin E supplementation is a commonly used approach to delay lipid oxidation and colour deterioration in lamb and beef meat marketed under modified atmosphere packaging. However, these applications lack a precise calibration of dose for the desired effect and, in addition, limited information is available regarding the use of natural vitamin E for this purpose. RESULTS: Three hundred and sixty Rasa Aragonesa lambs were fed diets supplemented with all-rac-α-tocopheryl acetate (250, 500, 1000 and 2000 mg kg–1 compound feed), RRR-α-tocopheryl acetate (125, 250, 500 and 1000 mg kg–1 compound feed) and a basal diet without vitamin E supplementation for 14 days before slaughter at 25.8 ± 1.67 kg body weight. Vitamin E supplementation had no effect (P > 0.05) on average daily weight gain, feed intake and feed efficiency. Display time had larger effects on lipid oxidation, colour stability, myoglobin forms and meat discolouration parameters compared to vitamin E supplementation. However, vitamin E source and dosage significantly extended meat shelf-life as indicated by lipid oxidation, redness, hue angle, metmyoglobin formation, deoxymyoglobin formation, A580–630 and ISO2. CONCLUSION: The quantification of these effects demonstrated that the biological activity value of 1.36 used to distinguish both vitamin E sources is not appropriate for meat quality enhancing properties.
- all-rac-α-tocopheryl acetate
- lipid oxidation
- modified atmosphere packaging
- RRR-α-tocopheryl acetate
- vitamin E