According to a zootechnical study performed by Italian researchers in beef cattle (Padova University, 2010), organic selenium supplementation (Alkosel R397 from Lallemand) can improve meat processing quality and organoleptic qualities, when compared to mineral selenium.
The trial showed that organic selenium, not only enhanced the animal anti-oxidant status, but also the meat’s visual aspect and tenderness, and reduced drip loss for the processor.
The outcome of the trial is an excellent illustration of the ‘farm-to-fork’ benefits of a natural feed additive, and additional proof of the superior bioavailability of organic selenium over a mineral source.
The trial was performed in a commercial fattening unit on Charolais beef during the finishing period (210 days supplementation), and meat quality was evaluated after 10 days of maturation.
First of all, this study confirmed that, when compared to the mineral source, Alkosel significantly improved animal selenium status (higher blood and tissue selenium concentrations: +81% in muscle), confirming the superior bioavailability of the organic form of selenium.
Better meat quality
But, most interestingly, the organic selenium also improved several aspects of meat quality when compared to non-organic form (selenite):
- Reduction of meat drip loss during maturation by 25% after 10 days ageing, offering better yield for the slaughterhouse.
- Improved meat visual aspect, an important decision criteria for customers and part of meat organoleptic qualities (meat colour improved by +3.8% as compared to selenite).
- Improved meat tenderness, as measured by muscle sheer force (17% reduction of muscle sheer force, reflecting increased tenderness). Described as the first quality criteria sought by consumers, meat tenderness is another key organoleptic quality.
Moreover, the effect of organic selenium supplementation on animal products quality had already been shown in pig (improved organoleptic quality in ham, reduced meat oxidation…), but also in dairy cows (improved milk antioxidant status, reduced somatic cells count).
Recent scientific studies have shown similar benefits on lamb meat: organic selenium provides higher selenium level in muscle (in particular L. dorsi) as compared to selenium salt.
Selenium supplementation is essential to enhance animal antioxidant defences, immunity, health and maternal selenium transfer.
Due to its higher bioavailability for the organism, the Alkocel selenium yeast
source is more effective than mineral selenium to improve animal selenium levels and antioxidant status.
Mathieu Baulez, Product Manager for Lallemand, concludes: “Until now, organic selenium was used for its benefits on animal health and performance. Today, Padova University’s study shows that organic selenium is also effective to improve the meat qualities, bringing added benefits to the whole food chain, down to the consumer.”