Effects of caponization and age on the histology, lipid localization, and fiber diameter in muscles from Greenleg Partridge cockerels

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The preference of modern consumers for high-quality meat has forced breeders to use native breeds to produce capons. Caponization, both chemical and surgical, leads to androgen deficiency and changes in lipid metabolism and results in the accumulation of abdominal, subcutaneous, and intramuscular lipids, which change the sensory values of the meat. The aim of this study was to histologically evaluate selected skeletal muscles from Greenleg Partridge capons and cockerels. We examined lipid localization in the muscular tissue and also assessed both fiber type and fiber diameter in the pectoral muscles. The experiment was performed on 200 Greenleg Partridge cockerels and testes were removed at 8 wk of age. At 12, 16, 20, 24, and 28 wk of age, 6 cockerels and 6 capons were slaughtered, and samples from the pectoral and thigh muscles were evaluated. Our histopathological evaluation revealed only minimal changes, and no significant differences between capons and cockerels were observed. The pectoral and thigh muscles of the capons had higher concentrations of lipids around the blood vessels, in the perimysium, in the endomysium, and in the sarcoplasm. The analysis of fiber type in the Pectoralis major muscles revealed that the fibers were all the IIB type. The diameters of the fibers of the pectoral muscles were significantly different (P < 0.05) at 20, 24, and 28 wk of age, and diameters of the giant fibers were significantly different (P < 0.05) at 24 and 28 wk of age. High concentrations of lipids in the meat of the capons is undesirable due to health-related reasons. However, the ability of adipose tissue to improve the sensory values of meat will always be a major quality of native/traditional products.

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