Body composition and venison quality of farmed red deer (<i>Cervus elaphus</i>) hinds reared on grass, <i>papilionaceous</i> or mixed pasture paddocks

Nagy, János; Szabó, András; Donkó, Tamás; Bokor, Julianna; Romvári, Róbert; Repa, Imre; Horn, Péter; Fébel, Hedvig

Red deer (Cervus elaphus) hinds (n=3×10) of identical initial body weight (BW, ca. 68 kg) were reared on a monocotyledonous grass (G group), on a grass–papilionaceous (GP group) or on pure papilionaceous pasture each of 2 ha (P group) for 219 d. At the end of the experiment carcass tissue composition was assessed by means of computer tomography, slaughter value and meat quality were characterized and tissue – longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL), thigh and liver – samples were taken for fatty acid composition analysis. The primary aim was to assess nutrition-driven differences.

Hinds of group P provided higher final BW (101 kg vs. 90 and 91.9 kg in groups G and GP, respectively) and higher BW gain (32.6 kg during the total period vs. 22.4 and 22.1 kg). The carcass weight exceeded those of the other groups significantly (68.8 kg vs. 59.3 and 63.2 kg), while there was no difference among groups in the perirenal fat weight and red color tone (a*) of the LTL. Groups G and P differed significantly in the LTL weight (highest in P), its dripping loss (lowest in G), lightness (L; highest in P) and yellow color tone (b*).

In the thigh muscle, LTL and liver the highest proportion of fatty acid CLA9c11t was reached on the G pasture, and the same trend was true for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA , C22:6 n3) in the muscles. The n6  n3 fatty acid ratio was the highest on the P pasture in the liver and both muscles. The liver incorporated the highest proportion of linoleic acid (C18:2 n6) and converted it rather effectively to arachidonic acid (C20:4 n6), coupled with the lowest α-linolenic acid presence.

In conclusion, concerning muscle mass production, group P proved to be the most advantageous pasture; meanwhile LTL meat quality factors (dripping loss, DHA proportion, pH, color) were more favorable on the G pasture.

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Nagy, János / Szabó, András / Donkó, Tamás / et al: Body composition and venison quality of farmed red deer (<i>Cervus elaphus</i>) hinds reared on grass, <i>papilionaceous</i> or mixed pasture paddocks. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: János Nagy et al.

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