The effect of different dietary energy levels, with or without injections of vitamin E, on growth, carcass traits and intramuscular collagen (IMC)characteristics of growing lambs was studied. Twenty-four Ile de France ram lambs were evaluated in a 2 · 2 factorial design involving different DL-a-tocopheryl acetate injections (C,control = 0 and V = 150 IU/wk, i.m. for eight wk) and energy level (N, normal = 7.61 and L, low = 6.47 MJ/kg DM). Growth and slaughter performance, and IMC characteristics were not influenced by diet. DL-a-tocopheryl acetate increased ADG during suckling, while it did not affect live weight, carcass weight and dressing percentage. Vitamin E injections reduced carcass shrinkage but also had a negative effect on pelvic limb percentage. The Longissimus muscle pH values were higher in V than in C lambs. DL-a-tocopheryl acetate reduced IMC maturity and muscle hydroxylysylpyridinoline crosslink concentration, more markedly in lambs fed low energy diets.
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