Chemical characteristics of red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus caama) meat
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of region (Qua-Qua, Maria Moroka, Sandveld and Tussen die Riviere) and gender on carcass characteristics and chemical composition of meat from the red hartebeest. The parameters measured on 29 red hartebeest included body weight, carcass weight, dressing percentage, proximate composition, fatty acid, cholesterol, amino acid and mineral content. The average carcass weight of males (79.3 kg) was significantly higher than that of females (56.0 kg); however, there was no difference in dressing percentages. The animals obtained from the Qua-Qua region had the highest lipid content (1.3 g/100 g meat sample) compared to hartebeest sampled in other regions. Differences in concentrations of individual fatty acids, amino acids and minerals were minor and of no practical value. The ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids (0.78) is above the recommended 0.7 and therefore has positive implications for human health. These nutrient values determined in meat from red hartebeest could be incorporated into human food composition tables. These results will also be of value to the South African game meat exporters who may wish to market their products in terms of their nutritional value in order to compete with meat from domestic livestock or international venison products. In such cases, it is required by law (both locally and internationally) to provide adequate nutritional labelling. © South African Society for Animal Science.