Replacement of cereal grains by orange pulp and carob pulp in faba bean-based diets fed to lambs: effects on growth performance and meat quality
Replacement of cereal grains by orange pulp and carob pulp in faba bean-based diets fed to lambs: effects on growth performance and meat quality
Massimiliano LANZA 1
Alessandro PRIOLO 1
Luisa BIONDI 1
Marco BELLA 1
Hichem BEN SALEM 0
0 Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique de Tunisie, Laboratoire de Nutrition Animale , rue Hédi Karray, 2049 Ariana , Tunisia
1 Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie delle Produzioni Animali, Facoltà di Agraria, Università di Catania , Via Valdisavoia 5, 95123 Catania , Italy
- Fourteen weaned lambs (43 days of age) were divided into two equal groups of seven animals and received two different diets. The experimental diet contained 10% of carob pulp and 10% of orange pulp associated to 54% of faba bean. The control diet contained 12% of maize meal and 12% of barley meal associated to 49.2% of faba bean. Both diets were pelletted and given ad libitum. The two diets had comparable contents of dry matter, ash, crude fat, fibre and crude protein. Control diet was relatively higher in soluble nitrogen than the experimental one. However, experimental diet was higher in fibre-bound nitrogen and in total and condensed tannins than control one. At the end of the feeding trial (120 d of age) growth and slaughter performance were comparable between treatments. Chemical analysis of meat samples did not show any significant difference between groups. Physical analysis of meat showed a higher (P < 0.05) lightness (L*) value in experimental group than in the control one. Sensory analysis allowed the panellists to discriminate lamb meat from the two groups. Flavour, tenderness and juiciness were judged to be more intense (P < 0.01) in the meat of control group; also overall acceptability was higher (P < 0.05) in this group. It was concluded that the replacement of cereal grains with carob and orange pulp in lamb fattening diet is useful to reduce feeding costs. Nevertheless, we need further investigations on the level of inclusion in the diet, in order to avoid the negative effects on sensory attributes without detrimental effect on growth performance.
Un lot a reçu une ration contenant 10 % de pulpe d’orange, 10 % de pulpe de caroube, et 54 % de
féverole (lot expérimental), l’autre lot a reçu un régime composé de 12 % de maïs, 12 % d’orge, et
49,2 % de féverole (lot témoin). Chaque régime a été distribué aux animaux sous forme de granulés
distribués à volonté. Les deux régimes avaient des teneurs en matière sèche, en cendres, en matière
grasse, en fibres et en matières azotées totales comparables. La fraction d’azote soluble a été
relativement plus élevée dans le régime témoin par rapport au régime expérimental. En revanche, les
teneurs en azote lié aux fibres et aux tannins totaux et condensés ont été plus importantes dans le régime
expérimental. À la fin de l’essai d’alimentation (âge 120 j), les deux lots ont eu les mêmes performances
de croissance. L’analyse chimique de la viande, n’a révélé aucune différence entre les deux lots
d’animaux. La viande issue du lot expérimental a été plus claire (L*, P < 0,05) que celle du lot
témoin. La flaveur, la tendreté et la jutosité évaluées par analyse sensorielle ont été plus intenses
dans la viande du lot témoin par rapport à celle de la viande du lot expérimental (P < 0,01). Ces
différences concourent à expliquer la meilleure acceptabilité de la viande des animaux recevant le
régime témoin par rapport à celle de la viande des animaux recevant le régime expérimental (P < 0,05).
Ce travail permet de conclure que le remplacement des aliments concentrés conventionnels par les
pulpes d’orange et de caroube dans des régimes d’engraissement d’agneau permet de réduire le coût
de l’alimentation mais il reste encore à déterminer le niveau optimal de leur incorporation qui
permettrait d’éviter à la fois les effets négatifs sur la qualité sensorielle de la viande et ceux sur les
performances de croissance.
grains de céréales / pulpe d’orange / pulpe de caroube / croissance / qualité de la viande /
In Sicily, the fattening diets fed to lambs
are characterised by the association of local
forages and concentrates based on imported
soybean meal as the main protein source
and cereal grains as the main carbohydrates
sources. An important objective in livestock
feeding is to promote the use of local feeds
and by-products in order to reduce feeding
costs. However, the effects of using such
feeds on growth performance and meat
quality have been little studied.
Faba bean (Vicia faba var. minor) is a
legume seed largely diffused in the
Mediterranean area and is relatively cheap despite its
relatively high nutritional value . Its crude
protein appears to be reasonably well
balanced with regard to aminoacidic
composition and the starch content is relatively
high. The use of a lamb fattening diet largely
based on faba bean gave similar growth
performance and meat characteristics compared
to the traditional diets based on soybean
meal as main protein source [6, 15, 23].
Orange pulp and carob pulp are
by-products widely available in the Mediterranean
area and are valuable sources of pectins and
soluble carbohydrates . In a previous
experiment Lanza et al.  found that a
diet based on faba bean contained a high
level of nonprotein nitrogen (NPN), denoted
as A-nitrogen fraction, immediately
degradable in the rumen. Therefore, it is
reasonable to expect a good efficiency in ruminal
protein synthesis when faba bean is
associated to feeds containing rapidly fermentable
carbohydrates, such as orange pulp and
The objective of the present work was to
compare the effects of the combined
inclusion of orange pulp and carob pulp in
replacement of barley and maize in a
pelletted diet, with faba bean as the main
protein source, on lamb growth performance
and on carcass and meat quality.
2. MATERIALS AND METHODS
2.1. Animals, diets and procedures at the abattoir
The trial was conducted at the experi
mental station of the “Facoltà di Agraria”,
University of Catania (Italy), and involved
14 intact male Barbaresca lambs. The
animals were born in a farm located in eastern
Sicily within a 7-day period and were reared
under their dams until weaning at 43 days of
age. From the second week of age they were
allowed a commercial starter concentrate
and grass hay. After weaning, the lambs
were divided into two comparable groups
of seven animals with the same live weight
and penned collectively into two different
stalls indoor for the whole fattening period.
From the 43rd to the 50th day the lambs
were gradually adapted to the fattening diets.
The control group (CG) was fed a complete
pelletted diet with maize meal and barley
meal associated to faba bean (Vicia faba
var. minor). The experimental group (BP)
was fed a complete pelletted diet in which
orange pulp and carob pulp were both
present in the amount of 10% (on an as-fed
basis) each in the diet, replacing all the
cereals of the control diet. Both diets, that were
supplied ad libitum, had also 20% of wheat
straw. All the ingredients were ground by
a feed mill and steam pelletting was carried
out without inclusion of binding agents.
Fresh feed was supplied once daily at
09.00 h and the refusal was collected at same
time to calculate voluntary feed intake and
feed conversion ratio. Lambs were
individually weighed once weekly. The
composition of diets and the chemical analysis are
shown in Table I.
Lambs were slaughtered, after electrical
stunning, by throat cut at 120 days of age.
Ruminal fluid pH was measured
immediately after slaughter by an Orion 210A pH
meter equipped with an Orion 9106 glass
electrode. The hot carcasses were weighed
and assessed for fatness, estimated by two
experts using a 15-point scale as described
by Dransfield et al. . The carcasses were
then chilled in a room at 4 °C.
2.2. Laboratory analyses
Feed crude protein, ether extract and ash
contents were analysed according to AOAC
. Fibre fractions were evaluated
according to Goering and Van Soest  while
protein fractions according the following
procedures described by Licitra et al. .
Nonprotein nitrogen (or A nitrogen
fraction) was detected by tungstic acid
procedure and calculated as the difference
between the total crude protein nitrogen
(Kjeldhal procedure) and the value of the
true protein nitrogen precipitated with
tungstic acid. Soluble protein was detected
by buffer-soluble nitrogen procedure. It is
soluble in borate-phosphate buffer at rumen
pH and is calculated by subtracting
bufferinsoluble residue from total crude protein.
The true soluble protein, denoted as B1
nitrogen fraction, can be obtained by
subtracting the buffer-insoluble nitrogen residue
from the true protein. The nitrogen
associated with NDF is cell wall-bound protein
which includes the indigestible nitrogen
found in the acid-detergent residue. Both
NDIN (neutral-detergent insoluble
nitrogen) and ADIN (acid-detergent insoluble
nitrogen) were obtained by the alternate
procedure using Fibertec apparatus, described
by Licitra et al. . The neutral detergent
soluble protein denoted as B2 nitrogen
fraction is obtained by subtracting neutral
detergent insoluble protein from
buffer-insoluble nitrogen residue. The protein insoluble in
neutral-detergent but soluble in
acid-detergent solution is denoted as B3 nitrogen
fraction. It is obtained by subtracting ADIN
from NDIN. The acid-detergent insoluble
nitrogen (ADIN) denoted as C nitrogen
fraction include heat-damaged protein and
nitrogen associated with lignin. Triplicate feed
samples (about 200 mg) were extracted in
aqueous acetone (70:30 v/v). Extractable
BP: experimental group; CG: control group; A: non protein nitrogen; B1: true soluble protein; B2: neutral
detergent soluble protein; B3: protein insoluble in neutral-detergent but not in acid-detergent solution; C:
acid-detergent insoluble nitrogen.
total phenols and total and condensed
tannins were analysed on the respective
supernatants as described by Makkar and
Goodchild . The in vitro incubation
system (gas in calibrated syringe) was used to
measure gas production from feeds. The
rumen liquor was obtained from the rumens
of two sheep receiving oat hay ad libitum
and a mixture of 200 g processed barley and
100 g soybean meal per head. Buffer
solutions and rumen liquor / buffer (1:2 v/v)
were prepared as described by Menke and
Steingass . After weighing in duplicate
about 200 mg DM of cereal diet or
by-product one with (100 mg) or without PEG-4000
into calibrated syringes (100 ml), the
pistons were lubricated with Vaseline to ease
their sliding and to prevent escape of gas.
The syringes were prewarmed (40 °C)
before the injection of 30 ml of rumen liquor
per buffer mixture into each syringe,
followed by incubation in a ventilated oven
(39 °C ± 1 °C). The syringes were gently
shaken 30 min after the start of incubation
and then every hour during the first 10 h of
incubation. Readings were recorded after
24 h incubation period.
Metabolisable energy (ME, MJ.kg–1 DM)
of feeds was estimated using the equation
developed by Menke and Steingass :
ME = 1.39 + 0.1457Gv + 0.0075CP + 3.14/
CP + 0.0119(Fat) + 0.00008311 (Fat)2. The
Gv is the net volume, in ml, of gas produced
in 24 h and CP in g.kg–1 DM. Gv was
computed as follows: Gv = (G24-G0-Gb)/(FH
+FHS)/2; where G24 and G0 are gas
produced in 24 and 0 h, respectively, Gb gas
produced in blank syringes (rumen fluid and
buffer without substrate), FH stands for
standard hay and FHS for standard concentrate
and hay mixture.
2.3. Meat quality
At 24 h post mortem the pH was
measured in the longissimus thoracis by an
Orion 9106 penetrating glass electrode using
an Orion 210A pH meter. At 72 h post
mortem, carcasses were split into two sides.
From each right side the hind leg was
separated and dissected according to ASPA 
to determine lean, separable fat and bone
proportions. The longissimus thoracis and
lumborum muscles were then separated to
evaluate meat quality.
Physical and chemical analyses were per
formed on the longissimus thoracis. Colour
was measured according to CIE (L*a*b*)
system on 3-cm thick muscle slices cut 72 h
post mortem using a colour meter Minolta
CR 300 (light source: C = 6740 °K)
calibrated to a standard white tile. Samples were
stored for 2 h on a polystyrene tray wrapped
in a polyethylene film at 4 °C before
evaluation. Chroma (C*) and hue angle (H*) were
Water holding capacity was evaluated
as the cooking loss measured according to
Boccard et al. . Meat samples (about
55 g) were weighed and held in plastic bags
and then immersed in a water-bath at 75 °C
until the internal temperature reached 75 °C
as monitored with a thermocouple. Then the
bags were cooled under running tap water
for 30 min and then blotted dry with paper
towels and reweighed.
Shear force (WBS) was evaluated on a
meat sample cooked as describe above.
Three strips (1 · 1 cm) were removed from
each cooked sample parallel to muscle fibres
and sheared perpendicularly to the
direction of the fibres using an Instron universal
testing machine (Instron 4 411) equipped
with a Warner-Bratzler shearing device.
Before chemical analyses, all samples
were stored at –24 °C. Moisture, fat and ash
contents were determined on raw minced
samples according to AOAC , while
protein content was calculated by difference.
2.4. Sensory analysis
The lumbar region of the longissimus
muscle was used for sensory analysis. Meat
samples aged for 72 h, were frozen at –24 °C
until taste panel evaluation. Samples were
thawed at 4 °C the day before panel session.
The samples were held in plastic bags and
cooked in a boiling water-bath until the
internal temperature reached 75 °C
monitored using a probe and a recording
thermometer. Samples were trimmed free of all
subcutaneous fat and epimysial connective
tissue before they were served warm to the
sensory panel. The samples were randomly
assessed during two panel sessions. The
samples were scored for flavour, tenderness,
juiciness and overall acceptability by a
10-member trained panel using a 9-point
intensity scale (9 being the most flavoured,
tender, juicy and acceptable and 1 being the
less flavoured, tender, juicy and acceptable).
2.5. Statistical analysis
All data were processed by t test to
compare the two diets. For sensory analysis we
used a two way ANOVA with diet and
panellist as factors. Statistical analysis was
performed on MINITAB statistical
3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
3.1. Characteristics of the two diets
Both diets had similar crude protein and
NDF concentration (Tab. I). The soluble
protein content (A + B1 fractions) was
27.6% lower in the BP-diet than in the
CG-diet. The fibre-bound nitrogen content
(N-NDF) was 39.8% higher in the BP diet
than in the CG one. The BP diet showed a
higher B2 (neutral detergent soluble
protein), B3 (neutral detergent insoluble
protein) and C (acid detergent insoluble
protein) protein fractions contents than control
diet. The higher concentration in C protein
fraction in by-product diet can be due to the
presence of condensed tannins in carob pulp
and/or to the heat treatment effect on orange
pulp before its inclusion in pelletted diet.
Acid detergent lignin content in the BP diet
was much higher than in CG because of the
presence of carob pulp which contains high
proportions of ADL . However, the BP
diet showed a better repartition in protein
fractions than the CG one. Total phenols
and total tannins were higher in the BP diet
as expected for the presence of carob pulp
associated to faba bean. The BP diet was
richer in condensed tannins (3.8 vs. 2.1 g
equivalent leucocyanidin per kg DM) than
control. Condensed tannins are powerful
protein binding agents in the rumen,
reducing protein degradability. Condensed
tannins from carob pulp, besides, are particulary
deleterious on diet digestibility and lamb
growth . The use of calibrated glass
syringes  to evaluate in vitro gas
production is widely used to estimate metabolisable
energy (ME) in feedstuffs and to assess
effects of tannins on their feeding value.
Gas volume was higher in the control diet
than in the by-product containing one
(Tab. I). Estimated ME content was 18.1%
higher for control diet than for experimental
diet. This may be explained by the lower
condensed tannins content. It is well
established that carob pulp is high in condensed
tannins in a range between 3.8% of DM 
and 5.3% of DM  which reduce its
nutritive value . Response to PEG in terms of
gas production was more pronounced with
orange and carob pulps containing diets than
with cereal grain containing diet.
3.2. Growth and slaughter performances
No significant difference was shown in
the lamb final live weight and average daily
weight gain between treatments. Dry matter
intake and feed conversion ratio were
similar in the two groups (Tab. II).
Empty live weight, carcass weight and
net dressing percentage were comparable
between treatments. No difference was
observed in carcass fatness. The carcasses of
both groups showed a considerable fatness
score (4+ and 4– according to the SEUROP
grading system) although it is acceptable
for Mediterranean consumers. These values
are higher than those obtained in a
previous trial in which Barbaresca lambs were
slaughtered at 100 d of age . Slaughter
age plays an important role in the
development of carcass fatness and it is associated
to the increase in the animal live weight [4,
Ruminal fluid pH was similar between
groups (5.41 and 5.62 for CG and BP,
respectively). These values are lower than
those reported by Ben-Ghedalia et al.  in
two-year old Merino rams fed two diets with
84.4% and 20.4% of citrus pulp and rationed
lucerne hay. Our values are probably due to
the lack of structured fibre in the diets
because of the high grinding level of feeds
Number of animals
Live weight at weaning (kg)
Live weight at 50 d (kg)
Final live weight (kg)
Average daily gain 50–120 d (g.d–1)
Dry matter intake 50–120 d (g.d–1)
Dry matter intake/live weight gain (kg.kg–1)
Empty live weight at slaughter (kg)
Warm carcass weight (kg)
Net dressing percentage (%)
Carcass fatness, score (1 to 15)
Rumen fluid pH
before pelletting. Because of the accordance
of growth and carcass performances with
the growth potential for Barbaresca breed,
in our opinion these very low pH values of
ruminal fluid do not represent a problem for
young growing lambs destined to the
slaughterhouse. There was no significant
difference between treatments with regard to
ruminal fluid volatile fatty acids (data not shown).
There was no significant difference in
leg weight and in lean, fat and bone
percentages between treatments (Tab. III).
Lean/fat and lean/bone ratios were also
comparable. In a previous work  the use of
a diet with faba bean as the major diet
ingredient, decreased the proportion of edible
parts (lean + fat), compared to a traditional
diet (soybean and cereals). The association
of different carbohydrates sources, such as
cereal grains or citrus pulp and carob pulp,
with faba bean seems to be more efficient
than diets almost totally based on faba bean.
3.3. Effect of diets on chemical and physical characteristics of longissimus muscle
In Table IV are shown the meat chemical
and physical characteristics. Chemical
analysis did not show any significant
difference between treatments. However crude fat
content was slightly higher in BP lamb meat
than in CG one (2.79% vs. 1.94%) (P < 0.10)
and ash content was slightly higher in CG
lamb meat than in BP one (P < 0.10).
Meat ultimate pH values were similar
between the two groups (average 5.64) and
within the normal range for mutton. Similar
ultimate pH values between groups indicate
that there was no difference, due to the diet,
in the muscle glycogen content at slaughter .
Lightness (L*) was significantly (P < 0.05)
different between treatments and was not
correlated to pH values (r = 0.10; P > 0.05).
Lambs fed BP diet showed a lighter meat
than lambs fed CG diet. Probably the
presence of carob pulp, that contains condensed
tannins, in BP diet could explain this result
as reported by Priolo et al. . Also, the
slightly higher fat level in the longissimus
muscle of BP lambs could contribute to the
higher values of lightness. The meat that is
lighter meets consumer’s preferences
better than the darker one, probably because
consumers associate freshness to a lighter
meat. No difference was found between
treatments in a* (redness) and b*
(yellowness), hue or chroma values.
Leg weight (kg)
Lean (% leg weight)
Fat (% leg weight)
Bone (% leg weight)
There was no difference in cooking loss
between treatments. Cooking losses are
mostly influenced by intramuscular fat
content. In the present experiment there was a
negative relationship (r = –0.76; P < 0.01)
between cooking loss and intramuscular fat
which agrees with the literature [14, 22].
Shear force values were not affected by
the diet treatment. These values were higher
than those obtained in a previous study 
on Barbaresca lambs slaughtered at 100 days
of age, fed a diet largely based on faba bean.
However, they still indicate a tender meat
according to Devine et al.  which assessed
that shear force values below 8 kgF are
highly acceptable and that the most tender
meat came from young lambs with an
ultimate pH from 5.5–5.7.
3.4. Effect of diets on sensory analysis of longissimus muscle
Table V shows the results of the sensory
evaluation. There were significant differences
between treatments means for all variates.
Panellist effect was always significant. The
scores for flavour, tenderness, juiciness and
overall acceptability were significantly
higher in the CG group (P < 0.01, 0.001,
0.01 and 0.05, respectively). The panellists
could clearly discriminate the meat samples
from the two groups.
Intense meat flavour in grain-rich diets
derive generally from
methyl-branchedchain fatty acids . These compounds
originate from ruminal propionate. In our
experiment, however, no difference was
found between ruminal volatile fatty acids
and we have not a plausible explanation for
the different flavour intensity. The only
sensory study on the effect of dietary carob
pulp on mutton, showed a detrimental effect
of carob tannins on meat acceptability .
However, in this trial the level of carob pulp
was much lower than that reported by Priolo
et al.  and is not likely to have exerted
such an effect. We are not aware of studies
on the acceptability of meat from lambs fed
Better tenderness and more intense
flavour made the meat from CG lambs more
acceptable than that from BP lambs as
expected. However, in a 9-point scale the
mean values above 5.0 for both groups
indicated that the meat was acceptable and
therefore the dietary effect cannot be considered
The use of carob pulp and orange pulp
in replacement of cereal grains in lamb
fattening diets based on faba bean did not affect
growth and slaughter performances. Meat
from lambs fed BP diet was significantly
lighter in colour than meat from lambs fed
CG diet. However, the sensory evaluation
analysis discriminated the meat from lambs
fed BP diet, showing a negative effect of
diet. On the basis of these results other
studies should be undertaken to determine to
which extent the level of inclusion of
byproducts in lamb fattening diet should be
reduced to achieve an acceptable balance
between consumer meat acceptance and
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