Meat quality traits in Japanese quails with regard to storage conditions and duration

P. Vasileva, H. Lukanov*, A. Genchev

Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

Abstract. In the last decades the public perception about nutrition and food quality has witnessed a turning point on a global scale. There is an exceptional demand for meat and meat products from gallinaceous birds due to their high dietetic properties and low cost. Apart from the popular broiler chickens and turkey poults, meat-type quails have occupied a greater niche on the market during the last twenty years. Quails are characterised by good slaughter traits, excellent feed conversion rate and weight gain, and a valuable game-type meat. Quail meat is distinguished by excellent nutritional properties. It is rich in protein, with excellent amino acid balance, specific game flavour, relatively low fat content with greater share of unsaturated fatty acids. The study was performed with 40 sexually mature male and female Japanese quails from the Pharaoh meat-type breed, fattened until 35 days of age. Meat pH, meat colour according to the CIE L*а*b* colour system and water holding capacity (WHC) of M. pectoralis superficialis, М. pectoralis profundus and M. femorotibialis were determined on post slaughter minute 30, hours 4, 24, 48 and 72 as well as after defrosting of carcasses.The curves of meat pH reduction of the studied muscles were almost identical, and most substantial changes have occurred during the first 24 hours. Over the 72-hour storage, WHC of М. pectoralis profundus decreased at the highest extent. After freezing and thawing of meat, water loss decreased dramatically. Over the 72-hour period of cold storage, colour coordinates of M. pectoralis superficialis were the most stable, and the colour difference (∆Е*) – with the lowest values. Freezing resulted in lower ∆Е* of pectoral muscles and in increased colour difference in leg muscles.