Water holding capacity and cooking losses of different muscles of guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus)
It is well known that ageing produces changes in meat characteristics. Meat quality depends on organoleptic properties (color, texture, flavor and juiciness) which are related to zootechnical characteristics (breed, age, sex) or anatomical characteristics such as type of muscle. The main objetive of this study was to describe the water holding capacity and cooking losses of ten different muscles of guinea pig after chilling for 12 h at 4ºC. Forty eight guinea pigs randomly selected from the same production system were divided into four groups of 12 animals as follows: 3 months-aged female, 3 months-aged male, 12 months-aged female, and 12 months-aged male. Ten muscles were excised after 12 hours postmortem: longissimus dorsii, quadriceps femoris, triceps braquii, psoas major, biceps femoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus, gracilis, gluteal, and gastrocnemio. Water-holding capacity (WHC) was measure using 0.3 g of muscle between two papers with a 1kg of weight during 10 min. Vacuum packaged muscle was introduced in a 70ºC water bath for 30 min and cooking losses (CL) were measured. A two-way analysis of variance was conducted to test the significance of the two fixed variables muscle and age or sex. Least squares means were calculated and considered significantly different if P < 0.05. With regard to WHC, triceps braquii, psoas major, and gracilis showed the lower values, while gastrocnemio had the higher values. Quadriceps femoris and semitendinosus displayed similar values than longissimus dorsii. The 12 months-age animals had lower WHC than 3 months-age guinea pigs. However, when we compare data splitting male and female, it is possible to observe that female guinea pigs lost more water than males at 3 months of age. With regard to CL, longissimus dorsi, gastrocnemio, quadriceps femoris, gluteal, and biceps femoris had similar CL values, while the higher values corresponded to triceps braquii and gracilis. It was also observed that 12-months guinea pigs had higher values of CL than 3-months animals; and the differences were not so evident between male anda female. However, these differences were not found for biceps femoris, which can indicate that this muscle can be a good indicator for cooking losses.
Keywords: guinea pig, water holding capacity, cooking losses