Histological differences in the skin and fibre characteristics of ten white-woolled sheep breeds

Author: O. Steinhagen, J.H. Dreyer & J.H. Hofmeyr
Year: 1986
Issue: 2
Volume: 16
Page: 90 - 94





Skin and wool samples of fully grown white-wool led rams of 10 different sheep breeds were investigated. An index was constructed according to which the breeds could be classified into three groups, taking 11 characteristics into consideration. This classification is discussed with reference to individual breeds. The Merino, which was the only breed in Group 1, proved to have the most favourable values for the traits regarded as importal1t from an economic point of view (follicle density 43,5/mm2; SIP ratio 20,8:1 fibre diameter 24,1 μm in histological sections and 21,0 μm according to lanametric measurements). The Bleu de Maine had the lowest follicle density (10,0/mm2), whilst the Border Leicester possessed the lowest SIP ratio (3,9). Fibre diameter had the highest value in Group 3 varying from 30,8 μm to 38,8 μm in histological sections and from 36,2 μm to 41,3 μm with lanametric measurement. Medullation (33,6%) and pigmentation (22,6%) were least favourable in the German Whitehead. The latter breed occupied the highest index for all traits combined. An indication of follicle use for fibre production was obtained by expressing the fibre diameter as a percentage of the inner follicle diameter. On this basis the lie de France proved to be the most productive (93,2%). The follicle wall of this breed was thicker (23,9 μm) than any other breed involved. The German Whitehead proved to be the least productive (86,5%) to be followed by the Merino (87,3%) for average fibre diameter per follicle diameter.



Keywords: fibres, follicles, Histology, sheep breeds
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