The fat-tail of Damara sheep: An assessment of mineral content as influenced by weight loss

Joana R. Lérias, Tanya Kilminster, Tim Scanlon, John Milton, Chris Oldham, Johan C. Greeff, Luísa L. Martins, Miguel Pedro Mourato, André M. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Seasonal weight loss is the major constraint to animal production in the tropics. To counter seasonal weight loss, the use of breeds better adapted to it is of major importance. Damara sheep are an important breed in tropical animal production, as they are not only able to tolerate seasonal weight loss, but also have a characteristic fat-tail adipose tissue, often discarded, but that may be of interest to the food industry. The objective of this work is to determine the effect of weight loss on mineral profiles (zinc, manganese, iron, potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium) in the fat-tail of Damara sheep. The trial lasted 42 days and was conducted in Western Australia. Twenty-four Damara sheep lambs were randomly allocated to an underfed (growth rate -100 g/day) and a control group (growth rate 100 g/day). Upon slaughter, fat-tail adipose tissue was sampled and analysed by atomic absorption spectrophotometry for mineral content. The results showed no significant differences regarding minerals concentrations/quantities, with the exception of zinc and calcium concentrations that were higher in the restricted group, likely as a consequence of feed restriction and a decrease in fat tissue amount. In conclusion, we have quantified for the first time several minerals in Damara sheep fat-tail and demonstrated that reducing their bodyweight does not affect mineral quantity in fat-tails of Damara sheep.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1492-1495
Number of pages4
JournalAnimal Production Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Damara
  • fat-tail
  • minerals
  • seasonal weight loss


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