Grasas y Aceites, Vol 66, No 4 (2015)

Volatile compounds in the perirenal fat from calves finished on semiextensive or intensive systems with special emphasis on terpenoids

S. Soto
Departamento de Higiene y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de León - Instituto de Ciencias Agropecuarias. Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Spain

E. Serrano
Centro de Investigación y Formación Agrarias (C.I.F.A.). Gobierno de Cantabria, Spain

M. J. Humada
Centro de Investigación y Formación Agrarias (C.I.F.A.). Gobierno de Cantabria, Spain

A. Fernández-Diez
Departamento de Higiene y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de León, Spain

I. Caro
Departamento de Higiene y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de León, Spain

A. Castro
Departamento de Higiene y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de León, Spain

J. Mateo
Departamento de Higiene y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de León, Spain


Grazing ruminants and their production systems have been associated with lower environmental impact and higher animal welfare, along with distinctive meat quality characteristics when compared to intensively reared animals. Recent studies have been aimed at finding compounds in ruminant meat and fat which could be used as tracers of herbage feeding. This study determined and compared the volatile composition of the perirenal fat from Tudanca-breed calves reared on semi-extensive (SE; n=8) or intensive (I; n=8) systems. The volatile compounds of perirenal fat were analyzed using simultaneous distillation-extraction and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC/MS) with the mass spectra detector operating in full scan mode. Terpenes were also determined using solid-phase micro-extraction and GC/MS operating in the selective ion monitoring mode. The SE system resulted in decreased levels of octanal, 2-octenal and 2,4-decadienal, and increased levels of 2,3-octanedione and skatole. The levels of α-pinene, aromadendrene, α-phellandrene, eucalyptol and α-gurjunene were higher for the SE system. Fenchene, eucalyptol and α-gurjunene have not been reported in previous studies on beef volatiles. The study showed the possibility of using several terpenes of perirenal fat as indicators of pasture-feeding in Tudanca calves.


Biomarker; Calf; Meat flavor; Meat quality; Pasture feeding; Terpene; Tudanca

Full Text:



Adams RP. 2007. Alphabetical listing of compounds with their retention time and arithmetic retention index on DB-5, in Identification of essential oil components by gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry, 4th edition, Allured Publishing Corporation: Illinois, pp. 401.

Allen DM, Bougler J, Christensen LG, Jongeling C, Petersen PH, Serventi P. 1982. Cattle. Livest. Prod. Sci. 9, 89–126.

Calkins CR, Hodgen JM. 2007. A fresh look at meat flavor. Meat Sci. 77, 63–80. PMid:22061397

Cornu A, Kondjoyan N, Frencia JP, Berdagué JL. 2001. Deciphering the message from volatile components of fat tissues. Viandes Prod. Carnés 22, 35–38.

Descalzo AM, Insani EM, Biolatto A, Sancho AM, García PT, Pensel NA, Josifovich JA. 2005. Influence of pasture or grain-based diets supplemented with vitamin E on antioxidant/ oxidative balance of Argentine beef. Meat Sci. 75, 35–44. PMid:22063278

Elmore JS, Warren HE, Mottram DS, Scollan ND, Enser M, Richardson RI, Wood JD. 2004. A comparison of the aroma volatiles and fatty acid compositions of grilled beef muscle from Aberdeen Angus and Holstein-Friesian steers fed diets based on silage or concentrates. Meat Sci. 68, 27–33. PMid:22062004

Frankel EN. 1982. Volatile lipid oxidation products. Prog. Lipid Res. 22, 1–33.

Horrigan L, Lawrence RS, Walker P. 2002. How sustainable agriculture can address the environmental and human health harms of industrial agriculture. Environ. Health Persp. 110, 445–456. PMid:12003747 PMCid:PMC1240832

Humada MJ, Sa-udo C, Serrano E. 2014. Chemical composition, vitamin E content, lipid oxidation, colour and cooking losses in meat from Tudanca bulls finished on semi-extensive or intensive systems and slaughtered at 12 or 14 months. Meat Sci. 96, 908–915. PMid:24211548

Humada MJ, Sa-udo C, Cimadevilla C, Serrano E. 2013. Production system and slaughter age effects on performance, carcass quality and profit margin of the production of calves and yearlings from Tudanca breed. ITEA Inf. Tec. Econ. Ag. J. 109, 183–200.

Humada MJ, Serrano E, Sa-udo C, Rolland DC, Dugan MER. 2012. Production system and slaughter age effects on intramuscular fatty acids from young Tudanca bulls. Meat Sci. 90, 678–685. PMid:22104254

Insausti K, Go-i V, Petri E, Gorraiz C, Beriain MJ. 2005. Effect of weight at slaughter on the volatile compounds of cooked beef from Spanish cattle breeds. Meat Sci. 70, 83–90. PMid:22063283

Kondjoyan N, Berdagué JL. 1996. A compilation of relative retention indices for the analysis of aromatic compounds, 1st edition, Laboratoire Flaveur, Institut National de la Reserche Agronomique, Theix, France.

Machiels D, Istasse L. 2003. Evaluation of two commercial solidphase microextraction fibres for the analysis of target aroma compounds in cooked beef meat. Talanta, 61, 529–537.

Moon SY, Li-Chan ECY. 2004. Development of solid-phase microextraction methodology for analysis of headspace volatile compounds in simulated beef flavour. Food Chem. 88, 141–149.

Mottram DS. 1998 Flavour formation in meat and meat products: a review. Food Chem. 62, 415–424.

Narváez-Rivas M, Gallardo E, León-Camacho M. 2012. Analysis of volatile compounds from Iberian hams: a review. Grasas y Aceites 63, 432–454.

Narváez-Rivas M, Gallardo E, León-Camacho M. 2014. Chemical changes in volatile aldehydes and ketones from subcutaneous fat during ripening of Iberian dry-cured ham. Prediction of the curing time. Food Res. Int. 55, 381–390.

Narváez-Rivas M, Pablos F, Jurado JM, León-Camacho M. 2011. Authentication of fattening diet of Iberian pigs according to their volatile compounds profile from raw subcutaneous fat. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 399, 2115–2122. PMid:21072505

Narváez-Rivas M, Rios JJ, Artega J, Quilez JF, Barrero AF, León-Camacho M. 2008. Determination of ent-kaurene in subcutaneous fat of Iberian pigs by gas chromatography multi-stage mass spectrometry with the aim to differentiate between intensive and extensive fattening systems. Anal. Chim. Acta 624, 107–112. PMid:18706315

Prache S, Cornu A, Berdagué JL, Priolo A. 2005. Traceability of animal feeding diet in the meat and milk of small ruminants? Small Ruminant Res. 59, 157–168.

Resconi VC, Escudero A, Beltrán JA, Olleta JL, Sa-udo C, Campo MM. 2012. Color, lipid oxidation, sensory quality, and aroma compounds of beef steaks displayed under different levels of oxygen in a modified atmosphere package. J. Food Sci. 77, S10–S18. . PMid:22182210

Röhrle FT, Moloney AP, Osorio MT, Luciano G, Priolo A, Caplan P, Monahan FJ. 2011. Carotenoid, colour and reflectance measurements in bovine adipose tissue to discriminate between beef from different feeding systems. Meat Sci. 88, 347–353. PMid:21316868

Serrano E, Cornu A, Kondjoyan N, Agabriel J, Micol D. 2011. Traceability of grass feeding in beef: terpene, 2,3-octanedione and skatole accumulation in adipose tissue of young bulls. Animal 5, 641–649. PMid:22439961

Shahidi F. 2001. Headspace volatile aldehydes as Indicators of lipid oxidation in foods. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 488, 113–123. PMid:11548150

Sheath GW, Coulon JB, Young OA. 2001. Grassland management and animal product quality, in Proceedings of the 42nd International Grassland Congress, Crop Science Society of America, Sao Paulo, Brazil, pp. 1019–1026.

Sivadier G, Ratel J, Engel E. 2010. Persistence of pasture-feeding volatile biomarkers in lamb fats. Food Chem. 118, 418–425.

Soto S, Fernández-Diez A, Caro I, Humada MJ, Cimadevilla C, Mateo J, Serrano E. 2014. Efecto del sistema de producción sobre las características de la canal, de la carne y de la grasa de terneros de raza Tudanca, in Proceedings of the 53th Reunión Científica de la Sociedad Espa-ola para el Estudio de los Pastos (SEEP), SEEP, Potes, Spain, pp. 437–444.

Vasta P, Priolo A. 2006. Ruminant fat volatiles as affected by diet: A review. Meat Sci. 73, 218–228. PMid:22062292

Vasta V, Ventura V, Luciano G, Andronico V, Pagano RI, Scerra M, Biondi L, Avondo M, Priolo A. 2012. The volatile compounds in lamb fat are affected by the time of grazing. Meat Sci. 90, 451–456. PMid:21983426

Viallon C, Martin B, Verdier-Metz I, Pradel P, Garel JP, Coulon JB, Berdagué JL. 2000. Transfer of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes from forages into milk fat. Lait 80, 635–641.

Vieira C, Fernández-Diez A, Mateo J, Bodas R, Soto S, Manso T. 2012. Effects of addition of different vegeTable oils to lactating dairy ewes' diet on meat quality characteristics of suckling lambs reared on the ewes' milk. Meat Sci. 91, 277–283. PMid:22381704

Watanabe A, Ueda M, Higuchi M, Shiba N. 2008. Analysis of volatile compounds in beef fat by dynamic-headspace solid-phase microextraction combined with gas chromatography– mass spectrometry. J. Food Sci. 73, C420-C425. PMid:18576988

Watkins PJ, Rose G, Warner RD, Dunshea FR, Pethick DW. 2012. A comparison of solid-phase microextraction (SPME) with simultaneous distillation–extraction (SDE) for the analysis of volatile compounds in heated beef and sheep fats. Meat Sci. 91, 99–107. PMid:22305391

Yang A, Brewster MJ, Lanari MC, Tume RK. 2002. Effect of vitamin E supplementation on α-tocopherol and β-carotene concentrations in tissues from pasture- and grain-fed cattle. Meat Sci. 60, 35–40.

Young OA, Berdagué JL, Viallon C, Rousset-Akrim S, Thiriez M. 1997. Fat-borne volatiles and sheep meat odour. Meat Sci. 45, 169–181.

Young OA, Lane GA, Priolo A, Fraser K. 2003. Pastoral and species flavour in lambs raised on pasture, lucerne or maize. J. Sci. Food Agric. 83, 93–104.

Copyright (c) 2015 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Contact us

Technical support