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ALVARENGA, Tharcilla

Tharcilla Alvarenga

Research interests

  • Increase productivity and profitability of livestock systems.
  • Development of technologies to predict animal maturity and meat eating quality.
  • Maternal nutrition affecting meat quality traits of the progeny.
  • Manipulation of omega-3 in red meat.
  • Gene expression of lipid metabolism in muscle and fat tissues.
  • Carcass traits and meat quality of lambs/beef under feedlot and grazing systems.


Tharcilla Alvarenga is Value Chain Development Officer and Research Officer – Extensive Livestock unit of NSW Department of Primary Industries. She has broad experience in both foreign and Australian livestock systems. Tharcilla’s recent investigations include development of strategies to increase the value of red meat industry and a multidisciplinary research approach to investigate the potential of using a spectroscopy to accurately predict animal maturity and meat quality by scanning hides and muscles. Also, she works with the scientists assisting in the transfer of knowledge from current R&D projects with focus on the value chain.

Watch Tharcilla’s video Bring Value Back showcasing opportunities to enhance the value of the beef industry.


  • Bachelor of Animal Science, UFVJM 2008.
  • Master of Animal Science, UNESP 2011.
  • Doctor of Animal Science, UFLA 2015.


  • Use of spectroscopy to estimate beef and sheep maturity and meat quality.
  • Novel dual purpose perennial cereals for grazing – performance, carcass and meat quality of lambs.
  • Eating quality in Merino breeding programs.
  • Influence of maternal nutrition on meat quality traits of the progeny.
  • Effect on lamb meat of supplementing with calcium soap fatty acids.
  • Expression of genes encoding enzymes regulating fat metabolism in sheep.
  • Use of oldman saltbush as a feeding strategy for sheep.
  • Carcass traits and meat quality of lambs under feedlot and grazing systems.

Selected Publications

ALVARENGA, T.I.R.C., PALENDENG, M., THENNADIL, S., MCGILCHRIST, P., CAFE, L.M., ALMEIDA, A.K., HOPKINS, D.L. (2021). Is meat from cull cows tougher? Meat Science, 177, 108498. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2021.108498.
MONTELLI, N.L.L.L., ALVARENGA, T.I.R.C., ALMEIDA, A.K., ALVARENGA, F.A.P., FURUSHO-GARCIA, I.F., GREENWOOD, P.L., PEREIRA, I.G. (2021). Associations of feed efficiency with circulating IGF-1 and leptin, carcass traits and meat quality of lambs. Meat Science, 173, 108379. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2020.108379.
DE SOUZA VILELA, J., ALVARENGA, T.I.R.C., ANDREW, N.R., MCPHEE, M., KOLAKSHYAPATI, M., HOPKINS, D.L., RUHNKE, I. (2021). Technological quality, amino acid and fatty acid profile of broiler meat enhanced by dietary inclusion of black soldier fly larvae. Foods, 10, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10020297.
ALVARENGA, T. I. R. C., HOPKINS, D. L., MORRIS, S., MCGILCHRIST, P., & FOWLER, S. M. (2021). Intramuscular fat prediction of the semimembranosus muscle in hot lamb carcases using NIR. Meat Science, 181, 108404. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2020.108404.
PALENDENG, M. E., ALVARENGA, T. I. R. C., FOWLER, S., HOPKINS, D. L., MCGILCHRIST, P., & THENNADIL, S. N. (2020). Estimation of chronological age of cattle using spatially resolved diffuse reflectance measurements of hide. IEEE Sensors Journal, 20, 8673-8682. DOI: 10.1109/JSEN.2020.2983455
HOLMAN, B. W. B., ALVARENGA, T. I. R. C., & HOPKINS, D. L. (2020). The effect of fibre orientation, measurement interval and muscle on lamb meat drip loss values. Meat Science, 161, 107959. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2019.107959
ALVARENGA, T. I. R. C., HOPKINS, D. L., RAMOS, E. M., & GEESINK, G. E. (2019). Ageing-freezing/thaw process affects blooming time and myoglobin forms of lamb meat during retail display. Meat Science, 153, 19-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2019.02.016
FRANK, D. C., GEESINK, G., ALVARENGA, T. I. R. C., POLKINGHORNE, R., STARK, J., LEE, M., & WARNER, R. (2017). Impact of high oxygen and vacuum retail ready packaging formats on lamb loin and topside eating quality. Meat Science, 123, 126–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2016.09.010
ALVARENGA, T. I. R. C., COPPING, K. J., HAN, X., CLAYTON, E. H., MEYER, R. J., RODGERS, R. J., MCMILLEN, I. C., PERRY, V. E. A. & GEESINK, G. (2016). The influence of peri-conception and first trimester dietary restriction of protein in cattle on meat quality traits of entire male progeny. Meat Science, 121, 141-147. DOI: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2016.06.006
ALVARENGA, T. I. R. C., CHEN, Y., LEWANDOWSKI, P., PONNAMPALAM, E. N., SADIQ, S., CLAYTON, E. H., VAN DE VEN, R. J., PEREZ, J. R. O., & HOPKINS, D. L. (2016). The expression of genes encoding enzymes regulating fat metabolism is affected by maternal nutrition when lambs are fed algae high in omega-3. Livestock Science, 187, 53-60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2016.02.013
HOLMAN, B. W. B., ALVARENGA, T. I. R. C., VAN DE VEN, R. J., & HOPKINS, D. L. (2015). A comparison of technical replicate (cuts) effect on lamb Warner-Bratzler shear force measurement precision. Meat Science, 105, 93-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2015.02.013
ALVARENGA, T. I. R. C., CHEN, Y., FURUSHO-GARCIA, I. F., PEREZ, J. R. O., & HOPKINS, D. L. (2015). Manipulation of omega-3 PUFAs in lamb: phenotypic and genotypic views. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 14, 189-204. DOI: 10.1111/1541-4337.12131
ALVARENGA, T. I. R. C., BORBA, H., MORENO, G. M. B., ARAUJO, G. G. L., MELLO, J. L. M., DOURADO, R. C., BARBOSA, J. C., & SOUZA, P. A. (2014). Quality of aged shoulder meat from lambs fed with different oldman saltbush level (Atriplex nummularia). Ciência Rural, 44, 2252-2257. DOI: 10.1590/0103-8478cr20130017
FURUSHO-GARCIA, I. F., ALVARENGA, T. I. R. C., PEREZ, J. R. O., ALMEIDA, A. K., GALLO, S. B., PEREIRA, I. G., ALVES, N. G., & ALVARENGA, F. A. P. (2014). Allometric growth of non-carcass components in crossed lambs. Ciência Rural, 44, 1229-1235. DOI: 10.1590/0103-8478cr20130489

Contact details

Email: tharcilla.alvarenga@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Phone: +61 02 6770 1832


Armidale Livestock Industries Centre
JSF Barker Building, Trevenna Rd, UNE
Armidale NSW 2351