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Interpretive Summary: Effects of dietary inclusion of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) extract on lamb muscle metabolomics and physicochemical properties in meat

By Anne Zinn

A study recently published in the Journal of Animal Science evaluated the effects of increasing levels of  yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) extract as a feed additive for lambs and its effect on metabolic profile of the muscle and instrumental meat quality traits. The major components of meat, proteins and lipids, are susceptible to oxidation leading to off-flavors and color changes, which can cause consumer rejection of the product and may lead to loss in nutritional quality and generate compounds. Because of this, feed additives have been tested in various animal diets as a source of biomolecules that delay the meat degradation process. The present study hypothesized that the dietary inclusion of yerba mate extract may alter the metabolic profile of the muscle and consequently the instrumental meat quality parameters (color, tenderness, weight losses, and composition) of lamb meat. 

Results indicated that yerba mate extract dietary supplementation up to 2% of the diet to lambs had little to no effects on the majority of meat quality traits evaluated. Additionally, it was revealed that 4% of yerba mate extract inclusion negatively affected feed intake and meat quality traits. The team was able to identify 37 metabolites from lamb muscle and analysis of the majority of the individual metabolites was not qualitatively affected by treatments; however, the quantitative profile analysis showed an increased early postmortem of metabolites related to antioxidant activity in animals fed 1% and 2% of yerba mate extract. Overall, there was no evidence that yerba mate extract improved meat quality.

The full paper can be found on the Journal of Animal Science webpage.