Carcass composition and adipose tissue metabolism in growing sheep. Academic Article uri icon


  • Experiments were conducted to investigate biological variables that influence fat accretion in growing ram lambs. Carcass composition and adipose tissue development were measured in Columbia-sired ram lambs from 32.0 to 73.9 kg body weight. Five or six ram lambs were slaughtered every 2 mo, from 4 to 10 mo of age. The percentage of carcass fat-free dry matter decreased with age from 30.9 to 27.5% (P less than .05), while the percentage of carcass fat increased from 17.7 to 33.4%. Similarly, offal fat-free dry matter decreased with age (from 24.5 to 21.5), and there was nearly a threefold increase in the percentage of offal fat (P less than .05 for both measures). Subcutaneous adipocyte diameter and lipogenesis in vitro increased from 4 to 6 mo of age, and did not increase further with age. A bimodal distribution of adipocytes was apparent in the 4-mo-old lambs, but was not observed in any other age group. The presence of glucose in incubation media stimulated acetate incorporation into fatty acids in vitro in adipose tissue from 8- and 10-mo-old lambs. However, glucose did not affect the rate of lipogenesis from lactate. The data indicate early, rapid increases in carcass fat accretion, which corresponded to similar increases in lipogenesis and lipogenic enzyme activities.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Smith, S. B., Jenkins, T., & Prior, R. L.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Smith, SB||Jenkins, T||Prior, RL

publication date

  • December 1987