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Nutritional Profile of Donkey and Horse Meat: Effect of Muscle and Aging Time

Department of Agriculture, Food, Natural Resources and Engineering (DAFNE), University of Foggia, Via Napoli, 71121 Foggia, Italy
Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari A. Moro, 70010 Valenzano, Italy
Área de Tecnología de los Alimentos, Facultad de Ciencias de Ourense, Universidad de Vigo, 32004 Ourense, Spain
Centro Tecnológico de la Carne de Galicia, Parque Tecnológico de Galicia, 32900 Ourense, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Adriana Bonanno
Animals 2022, 12(6), 746;
Received: 15 February 2022 / Revised: 14 March 2022 / Accepted: 14 March 2022 / Published: 16 March 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food from Equids: A Supply Chain Approach)
Horse and donkey meat are a good source of nutrients and minerals. However, equine meat in many countries is still unpopular due to its toughness, although it has been demonstrated that an appropriate aging time improves the tenderness in different horse muscles. The present paper investigates the effect of aging time on nutritional properties in different muscles of horse and donkey meat. This information could represent an opportunity to valorize equine animal biodiversity and could be useful for the equine meat industry. The results highlight that horse and donkey meat, being particularly rich in PUFA and EAA, could represent healthy alternatives to traditionally consumed red meat. Aging time did not affect the nutritional profile of horse meat, whereas in donkey meat, a decrease of PUFA was observed after an aging time of 14 days.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of 14-day vacuum aging on the nutritional composition of donkey and horse meat. Longissimus Dorsi (LD), Semimebranosus (SM), and Rectus Femoris (RF), Semitendinosus (ST) muscles were sampled from each left carcass of 12 donkeys and 12 horses, respectively. Each muscle was divided into three sections, vacuum packaged, and stored at 2 °C for different aging times (1, 6, and 14 days). Fatty acids, amino acids, and cholesterol content were determined. SM exhibited higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) both in donkey and horse, whereas LD evidenced higher saturated (SFA) and monounsaturated (MUFA) fatty acids and lower cholesterol content in horse after 1, 6, and 14 days of storage. An aging effect was found only in donkey meat with higher saturated fatty acids and lower PUFA content at the end of the aging period. The highest value of essential amino acids has been displayed in SM an LD muscles from horse and donkey, respectively. Our results highlighted that equine meat, due to an excellent nutritional profile, represents a healthy alternative to traditionally consumed red meat. A different aging method could be used in donkey meat to preserve the high PUFA content. View Full-Text
Keywords: meat; donkey; horse; nutritional quality; aging time meat; donkey; horse; nutritional quality; aging time
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MDPI and ACS Style

Marino, R.; della Malva, A.; Maggiolino, A.; De Palo, P.; d’Angelo, F.; Lorenzo, J.M.; Sevi, A.; Albenzio, M. Nutritional Profile of Donkey and Horse Meat: Effect of Muscle and Aging Time. Animals 2022, 12, 746.

AMA Style

Marino R, della Malva A, Maggiolino A, De Palo P, d’Angelo F, Lorenzo JM, Sevi A, Albenzio M. Nutritional Profile of Donkey and Horse Meat: Effect of Muscle and Aging Time. Animals. 2022; 12(6):746.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Marino, Rosaria, Antonella della Malva, Aristide Maggiolino, Pasquale De Palo, Francesca d’Angelo, Josè Manuel Lorenzo, Agostino Sevi, and Marzia Albenzio. 2022. "Nutritional Profile of Donkey and Horse Meat: Effect of Muscle and Aging Time" Animals 12, no. 6: 746.

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