Meat quality attributes of night-cropped Impala (Aepyceros melampus)
Hoffman, L. C.
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ABSTRACT:The aim of this experiment was to determine the effect of using a heavy or a light calibre rifle for night cropping of impala (Aepyceros melampus) on meat quality (pH, colour, cooking and drip loss, tenderness). The effect of gender on these parameters was also tested. Eight male and eight female impala were shot at night using either a heavy or a light calibre rifle. Sex and rifle calibre had an effect on some of the parameters tested. An exponential function (y = a + b e(ct)) was fitted to the rate of pH decline with time. Constants for females were: a = 5.667 ± 0.0142, b = 2.097 ± 0.1777 and c = -0.451 ± 0.0541, and constants for males were: a = 5.792 ± 0.0142, b = 3.055 ± 0.1777 and c = -0.711 ± 0.0541. These constants differed (P < 0.05) between sexes. The impala showed a mean pH45 of 7.17 ± 0.0674 and a mean pHf of 5.70 ± 0.068. Mean drip and cooking loses were 2.55 ± 0.300%, 23.98 ± 0.367%, respectively, whilst a mean shear value of 3.65 ± 0.293 kg / 1.27 cm diameter was also noted. The darker colour of venison was reflected in the CIELAB values of the M. longissimus thoracis (L* = 29.22 ± 0.590, a* = 11.26 ± 0.319, b* = 7.36 ± 0.266). One of the animals was stressed prior to and during killing, and showed attributes associated with ante-mortem stress: higher pHf, lower drip loss and darker meat. The results indicate that the present method of cropping ungulates does not have a negative effect on the meat quality parameters tested.