Effect of age on composition and quality of Longissimus thoracis muscle of the moose (Alces alces L.) harvested in Estonia
¹Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Department of Animal Genetics and Breeding, Kreutzwaldi 62, 51014, Tartu, Estonia; *Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org 2Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Department of Food Science and Technology, Kreutzwaldi 56/5, 51014, Tartu, Estonia 3Estonian Pig Breeding Association, Aretuse 2, 61411 Märja, Tartumaa, Estonia
The aim of this study was to determine the biochemical composition and technological parameters of muscle (Longissimus thoracis) from adult and calf moose (Alces alces L.) hunter-harvested in the forest of southern Estonia. The experiment was based on 13 hunted moose, of which seven were adults (two males and five females) and six calves (two males and four females). The highest intramuscular fat (IMF) level was found in adult female moose muscles (1.50%), and the lowest in adult male moose muscle (0.46%). Adult moose muscles had higher IMF level (1.14%) than calves (0.98%) (P = 0.451). The protein content found in the muscle samples of adult moose was 0.64% higher than that in calves (21.80%) (P = 0.045). The moisture content of muscle from adult moose was lower (75.30%) and varied more than that of calves (76.07%) (P = 0.051). The initial (5.00–5.59) and ultimate (5.40–5.64) pH in muscle samples were within the normal range, both in adults and calves, except in one of the hunted female calf that had high pH values (pH45min = 6.60 and pH72hr = 6.90), obviously because of stress. The WHC of moose muscles was considerably high (60.50–75.20%), and cooking loss for thermally processed moose muscle ranged between 19.10% and 33.39%. Muscle sample from adult moose had the highest cooking loss (29.69%) while that from the calves was the lowest (26.42%) (P = 0.191). More force (32.54 N) was needed to share muscle samples from adult moose compared to cutting the samples from calves (23.92 N) (P = 0.374). Based on the results of the experiments it can be concluded that the meat from younger moose had better technological quality and tenderness.