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Age-related changes in the carcass composition and meat quality of fallow deer (DAMA DAMA L.)

J. Żochowska-Kujawska, M. Kotowicz, M. Sobczak, K. Lachowicz, J. Wójcik
Meat science 2019 v.147 pp. 37-43
Cervus dama, bones, bucks, carcass composition, cohesion, hardness, head, intramuscular fat, meat, meat quality, muscle fibers, muscles, pH, texture, Poland
The present study investigated the possible differences in carcass composition as well as texture, structure and percentage of different muscle types of the most valuable muscles (BF – biceps femoris, SM – semimembranosus, and L – longissimus) from fallow deer (Dama dama L.) bucks shot in the forest farm in north-western Poland at four different ages: 18, 30, 42 and 54 months. It was found that carcasses of young fallow deer (18–30 months), compared to older animals, were characterised by a higher dressing proportion, a higher percentage of the most valuable commercial cuts (the saddle, haunch and shoulder), high meat yield with the lowest percentage of bones and a lower percentage of skin and head. Their muscles, compared with older animals, were characterised by a lower percentage of red fibres, lower muscle fibre area, thinner perimysium and endomysium, lower amount of intramuscular fat and as a consequence lower hardness, springiness, cohesiveness, as well as a higher pH and lower thermal drip.