Meat quality characteristics of springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis). 4: Sensory meat evaluation as influenced by age, gender and production region
The effects of age, gender and production region on the sensory characteristics of springbok M. longissimus dorsi (LD) were investigated in 19 springbok, which originated from two Nature Reserves in the Free State Province of South Africa and were divided into age (adult, sub-adult) and gender categories. The sensory characteristics evaluated were game meat aroma, juiciness, residual tissue, tenderness and game meat flavour. Age, gender and production region had an effect (P < 0.05) on different sensory ratings of the meat. Whereas production region influenced (P < 0.05) the game meat aroma, initial juiciness, sustained juiciness and residual tissue ratings of the meat, gender and age had a significant effect on only the residual tissue rating of the meat. An interaction (P < 0.01) between age, gender and production region was observed for the tenderness attribute where the males from the Gariep Nature Reserve were the only gender that showed a significantly higher tenderness rating in the sub-adult than in the adult category. Sensory ratings were linearly correlated with certain physical and chemical attributes. Warner-Bratzler shear force (kg/1.27 cm diameter) values were inversely correlated with the sensory attributes of tenderness (r = -0.70, P < 0.01), residual tissue (r = -0.68, P < 0.01) and sustained juiciness (r = -0.43; P < 0.05). Age-related effects on perceived tenderness were minor in comparison with pH effects. As the pH24 of the meat increased, tenderness (r = -0.46, P < 0.05) and sustained juiciness (r = -0.54, P < 0.05) decreased significantly. No significant linear correlations were observed between the intramuscular fat (IMF) content and the sustained juiciness ratings of the meat. It can be concluded that production region had some influence on sensory characteristics of springbok meat, whilst the influence of age and gender were negligible. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.