Influence of Genotype Lines, Age at Slaughter and Sexes on the Composition of Rabbit Meat

Tomaž Polak, Lea Gašperlin, Alenka Rajar and Božidar Žlender*

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Food Science and Technology, Jamnikarjeva 101, SI-1111 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Article history:

Received May 9, 2005
Accepted October 17, 2005

Key words:

rabbit meat, chemical composition, fatty acid composition, cholesterol, sensory properties


Chemical composition (water, proteins, ash, intramuscular fat, cholesterol, fatty acid composition), sensory characteristics and instrumental profiles (colour and texture) of lean rabbit meat were investigated. It originated from animals of three different lines of SIKA genotype (A – mother line, C – father line, AC – hybrid of mother and father lines), two animal ages at slaughter (93 and 105 days) and both sexes. Rabbits were fed a commercial diet ad libitum. The boneless muscles of the back (longissimus lumborum) including muscles of abdominal wall and hind legs were sampled from thirty-six animals. On the average rabbit meat contains 71.5 % of water, 22.0 % of proteins, 1.17 % of ash, 5.4 % of intramuscular fat, 67.6 mg of cholesterol per 100 g of fresh meat, and as for fatty acid composition, 34.1 % belong to monounsaturated, 25.1 % to polyunsaturated and 40.9 % to saturated fatty acids. The P/S mass ratio (0.62), the atherogenic index (0.70), the n-6/n-3 ratio (8.1) and the cholesterol content show that the rabbit meat can and should be included into a balanced human diet. Meat of female rabbits contains more intramuscular fat and cholesterol compared to the male ones (5.7 vs. 5.2 g of intramuscular fat/100 g; p≤0.05; 71.5 vs. 63.7 mg of cholesterol/100 g, respectively; p≤0.01). Genotype line does not affect either the fatty acid profile or the content of cholesterol, but it has a significant impact on intramuscular fat (A line 5.0 g/100 g; AC line 5.9 g/100 g; C line 5.4 g/100 g; p≤0.05) as well as on cutting values across the fibres (Instron apparatus; A line 43 N; AC line 38 N; C line 42 N; p≤0.05). Meat of 105-day-old rabbits contains more intramuscular fat (5.7 vs. 5.2 g/100 g; respectively; p≤0.05) and shows darker and redder colour (both sensorially evaluated colour as well as instrumentally measured L* and a* values; p≤0.01) compared to the 93-day-old ones.

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