Evaluation of the sensory attributes along rabbit loin by a trained panel

Marina Martínez-Álvaro, Pilar Hernández


The aim of this study was to evaluate and quantify variation in sensory attributes along the Longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle in rabbits. A descriptive analysis was performed by a panel of 8 assessors previously trained in the evaluation of rabbit meat. Reference standards used in training for the evaluation of rabbit meat are also described. Sensory attributes rabbit and liver odour, rabbit and liver flavour, toughness, juiciness and fibrousness were assessed in 56 rabbits from a divergent selection experiment for intramuscular fat (28 slaughtered at 9 wk and 28 slaughtered at 13 wk). Immediately after cooking, loins were cut lengthwise into 4 equidistant pieces from caudal to cranial end (LD1, LD2, LD3 and LD4). Assessors were able to detect and quantify a longitudinal sensory variation in muscle LD. Caudal extreme LD1 was tougher and more fibrous than LD2, LD3 and LD4, and less juicy than LD3 and LD4. The greatest variation was found between caudal and cranial ends, with LD1 being 9% tougher (P=0.99), 11% more fibrous (P=1.00) and 12% less juicy (P=0.99) than LD4. Assessors found few variations along LD muscle in flavour and odour attributes. Location LD3 showed 9% greater rabbit odour (P=0.99) and flavour (P=0.97) than LD4, and 8% greater rabbit odour than LD2 (P=0.97). Our results highlight the importance of randomisation within muscle location in sensory studies on rabbit LD muscle, as there is considerable sensory variation along this muscle.


loin; panel training; sensory evaluation; within muscle variation

Full Text:



AENOR, Asociación Española de Normalización y Certificación. 2006. Norm UNE-EN ISO 4121:2006. Sensory analysis. Guidelines for the use of quantitative response scales (ISO 4121:2003). Asociación Española de Normalización y Certificación (AENOR) editors, Madrid, Spain.

AENOR, Asociación Española de Normalización y Certificación. 2010. Norm UNE-EN ISO 8589:2010. Sensory analysis. General guidance for the design of test rooms (ISO 8589:2007). Asociación Española de Normalización y Certificación (AENOR) editors, Madrid, Spain.

AENOR, Asociación Española de Normalización y Certificación. 2014. Norm UNE-EN ISO 8586:2014. Sensory analysis. General guidelines for the selection, training and monitoring of selected assessors and expert sensory assessors. Asociación Española de Normalización y Certificación (AENOR) editors, Madrid, Spain.

Ariño B., Hernández P., Plá M., Blasco, A. 2007. Comparison between rabbit lines for sensory meat quality. Meat Sci., 75: 494–498. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2006.08.013

Blasco A. 2017. Bayesian data analysis for animal scientists. Springer, N.Y., U.S.A. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-54274-4

Braghieri A., Piazzolla N., Carlucci A., Monteleone E., Girolami A., Napolitano F. 2012. Development and validation of a quantitative frame of reference for meat sensory evaluation. Food Qual. Prefer., 25: 63-68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2012.01.007

Carmack C.F., Kastner C.L., Dikeman M.E., Schwenke J.R., García Zepeda, C.M. 1995. Sensory evaluation of beef flavor intensity, tenderness and juiciness among major muscles. Meat Sci. 39(1), 143-147. https://doi.org/10.1016/0309-1740(95)80016-6

European Economic Community. 1998. Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes. Official Journal, 221: 8. European Commission Directive. 2010. Council, E.P.A.E. 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Ispra, Italy, b7.

Faucitano L., Rivest J., Daigle J.P., Lévesque J., Gariepy C. 2004. Distribution of intramuscular fat content and marbling within the Longissimus muscle of pigs. Can. J. Anim. Sci., 84: 57-61 https://doi.org/10.4141/A03-064

Gasperi F., Biasioli F., Gallerani G., Fasoli S., Piasentier E. 2005. Training of a sensory panel for quantitative descriptive analysis of lamb meat. Ita. J. Food Dci., 3: 255-268.

Gašperlin L., Polak T., Rajar A., Skvarèa M., Zlender B. 2006. Effect of genotype, age at slaughter and sex on chemical composition and sensory profile of rabbit meat. World Rabbit Sci., 14: 157-166. https://doi.org/10.4995/wrs.2006.558

Gondret F., Juin H., Mourot J., Bonneau M. 1998. Effect of age at slaughter on chemical traits and sensory quality of Longissimus lumborum muscle in the rabbit. Meat Sci., 48: 181-187. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0309-1740(97)00088-0

Gorraiz C., Beriain M.J., Chasco J., Iraizoz, M. 2000. Desciptive analysis of meat from young ruminants in Mediterranean systems. J. Sensory Stud., 15: 137-150. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-459X.2000.tb00261.x

Hansen S., Hansen T., Aaslyng M.D., Byrne D.V. 2004. Sensory and instrumental analysis of longitudinal and transverse textural variation in pork Longissimus dorsi. Meat Sci., 68: 611-629. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2004.05.013

Hernández P., Plá M., Oliver M.A., Blasco A. 2000. Relationships between meat quality measurements in rabbits fed with three diets of different fat type and content. Meat Sci., 55: 379-384. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0309-1740(99)00163-1

Hernández P., Guerrero L., Ramírez J., Mekkawy W., Plá M., Ariño B., Ibáñez N., Blasco A. 2005. A Bayesian approach to the effect of selection for growth rate on sensory meat quality of rabbit. Meat Sci., 69: 123-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2004.06.013

Lawless H.T., Heymann H. 2010. Sensory evaluation of food – Principles and practices. Springer Science Business Media. New York, U.S.A. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-6488-5

Macfie H., Bratchell N., Greenhoff K., Vallis L. 1989. Designs to balance the effects of order of presentation and first-order carry-over effects in hall test. J. Sensory Stud., 4: 129-148. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-459X.1989.tb00463.x

María G.A., Liste G., Campo M.M., Villarroel M., Sañudo C., Olleta J.L., Alierta S. 2008. Influence of transport duration and season on sensory meat quality in rabbits. World Rabbit Sci., 16: 81-88. https://doi.org/10.4995/wrs.2008.630

Martínez-Álvaro M., Hernández P., Blasco A. 2016a. Divergent selection on intramuscular fat in rabbits: Responses to selection and genetic parameters. J. Anim. Sci., 94: 4993-5003. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2016-0590

Martínez-Álvaro M., Penalba V., Blasco A., Hernández, P. 2016b. Effect of divergent selection for intramuscular fat on sensory traits and instrumental texture in rabbit meat. J. Anim. Sci., 94: 5137-5143. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2016-0850

Maughan C., Tansawat R., Cornforth D., Ward R., Martini S. 2012. Development of a beef flavor lexicon and its application to compare the flavor profile and consumer acceptance of rib steaks from grass-or grain-fed cattle. Meat Sci., 90: 116-121. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2011.06.006

Næs T., Brockhoff P., Tomic O. 2010. Correction methods and other remedies for improving sensory profile data. Statistics for sensory and consumer science. John Wiley and Sons Publishers. West Sussex, U.K. 39-46.

Shackelford S.D., Wheeler T.L., Koohmaraie M. 2004. Evaluation of sampling, cookery, and shear force protocols for objective evaluation of lamb Longissimus tenderness. J. Anim. Sci., 82: 802-807. https://doi.org/10.2527/2004.823802x

Sorensen D., Gianola D., 2002. Likelihood, Bayesian and MCMC methods in quantitative genetics. Springer, N.Y., U.S.A. https://doi.org/10.1007/b98952

Stell R.G., Torrie J.H. 1980. Principles and procedures of statistics. McGraw-Hill, N.Y., U.S.A.

Vigneron P., Bacou F., Ashmore C.R. 1976. Distribution heterogeneity of muscle fiber types in the rabbit Longissimus muscle. J Anim. Sci., 43: 985-988. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas1976.435985x

Wheeler T.L., Shackelford S.D., Koohmaraie, M. 2007. Beef Longissimus slice shear force measurement among steak locations and institutions. J. Anim. Sci., 85: 2283-2289. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2006-736

Abstract Views

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


Cited-By (articles included in Crossref)

This journal is a Crossref Cited-by Linking member. This list shows the references that citing the article automatically, if there are. For more information about the system please visit Crossref site

1. A Comparison of the Quality of Meat from Female and Male Californian and Flemish Giant Gray Rabbits
Tomasz Daszkiewicz, Andrzej Gugołek
Animals  vol: 10  issue: 12  first page: 2216  year: 2020  
doi: 10.3390/ani10122216


 Universitat Politècnica de València


Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)


e-ISSN: 1989-8886     ISSN: 1257-5011   https://doi.org/10.4995/wrs