Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

Major Professor

Curtis C. Melton

Committee Members

Sharon L. Melton, J.L. Collins


The left and right hams from twenty hogs were cured in a similar manner. All left side hams were covered with paraffin wax, while all right side hams were unwaxed. These pairs were aged for twelve months. Raw muscle samples were collected from another thirty pairs of hams prior to curing and aging. The left hams were again covered with wax while the right hams were unwaxed following equalization. The thirty pairs were cured and aged for six months. At the end of the aging period, center slice samples from ten pairs (left and right) of the twelve months aged hams, twenty-two pairs of the six months aged hams and corresponding twenty-two raw samples were extracted for short-chain (volatile) fatty acids. Extracted acids were analyzed by GLC and amounts expressed in mg/100 gram sample as received. Samples from ten pairs of twelve months aged hams, ten pairs of the six months aged hams and seven of the raw hams were extracted for total lipid. Ester derivatives of acids (C12 - C20) were made and analyzed by GLC. Values were expressed as percentage total long-chain fatty acids.

The means and standard deviations of all fatty acids in the analyzed hams and their analysis of variance were computed to determine the effect of wax covering, and time of aging on individual fatty acids. In six months aged hams, waxed covered hams had less (P<0.05) butyric and iso-valeric acids than unwaxed hams. Wax covering increased the relative levels of palmitoleic and linolenic acids. There was no significant wax effect on the other fatty acids of six months aged ham or any of the fatty acids of the twelve months aged hams. Aging hams increased (P<0.05) acetic, isovaleric and isobutyric acids but had no effect on propionic and butyric acids. Aging six months decreased the relative amount of myristic, stearic, linoleic and linolenic acids while palmitoleic and oleic acids were increased. Acetic, isobutyric, isovaleric, myristic and palmitic acids increased with time of aging (P<0.05). Aging time had no significant effect on propionic, butyric, stearic and oleic acids.

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