In-depth characterization of the sarcoplasmic muscle proteome changes in lambs fed with hazelnut skin by-products: Relationships with meat color

J Proteomics. 2023 Sep 15:287:104997. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2023.104997. Epub 2023 Aug 30.


This study investigated the effect of agro-industrial hazelnut skin by-products supplementation on lamb meat color variation and the changes in the sarcoplasmic muscle proteome during post-mortem storage (0, 4 and 7 days). Gel-based proteomics and bioinformatics approaches were applied to better understand the potential role of feeding strategies in modulating the mechanisms underpinning meat discoloration and post-mortem changes during storage. Therefore, twenty-two Valle del Belice male lambs were randomly assigned to two dietary treatments: control (C), lambs fed with maize-barley diet, and hazelnut skin (H), lambs fed hazelnut skin by-product as maize partial replacer in the concentrate diet. Hazelnut dietary treatment led to better lamb meat color stability as evidenced by the lowest decrease in redness and saturation index values. Proteomics and bioinformatics results revealed changes in the abundance of 41 proteoforms, which were mainly involved in glycolytic processes, responses to oxidative stress, and immune and endocrine system. The proteins allowed revealing interconnected pathways to be behind meat color variation as a consequence of using hazelnut skin by-products to sustainable feed lamb. The proteins can be used as potential predictors of lamb meat color variation. Accordingly, the regression equations developed in this paper revealed triosephosphate isomerase (TPI1) as a reliable candidate biomarker of color stability in lamb meat. SIGNIFICANCE: The use of agro-industrial by-products in animal feeding can be a potential sustainable strategy to reduce the environmental impacts of the food production chain and consequently improve animal welfare and product quality. The inclusion of hazelnut skin by-products in the animal's diet, due to the high concentration of polyphenols, represents an effective strategy to improve the oxidative stability of meat, with significant implications on color. The use of proteomics combined with bioinformatics on the sarcoplasmic proteome is a powerful approach to decipher the underlying mechanism. Accordingly, this approach allowed in this trial a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the post-mortem processes through the discovery of several biological pathways linked with lamb meat color variation. Glycolysis, followed by responses to oxidative stress, and other proteins involved in the immune and endocrine system were found as the major interconnected pathways that could act as potential predictors of lamb meat color stability. Candidate proteins biomarkers were further revealed in this study to be related with multiple meat color traits.

Keywords: Bioinformatics; Feeding strategies; Lamb meat color; Molecular pathways; Muscle proteome; Sarcoplasmic proteins.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corylus*
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Muscles
  • Proteome*
  • Sheep
  • Sheep, Domestic


  • Proteome