Although fallow deer are abundant in South Africa, these cervids remain undervalued as a domestic protein source and little information exists on their meat quality. This study aimed to evaluate the proximate and mineral compositions of the meat from wild fallow deer (n
= 6 male, n = 6 female) harvested in South Africa, as affected by sex and muscle. Proximate analyses were conducted on six muscles (longissimus thoracis et lumborum
[LTL], biceps femoris
[SS]), whereas mineral analyses were conducted on the LTL and BF. The proximate composition of the muscles ranged from 73.3–76.2% moisture, 20.4–23.1% protein, 2.2–3.2% fat, and 1.1–1.5% ash. Proximate composition was significantly (p
≤ 0.05) influenced by muscle, but not by sex. The primary essential macro- and micro-minerals determined in the LTL and BF were potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium, as well as iron, zinc, and copper, with more variation in concentrations occurring with muscle than with sex. Minerals in the muscles contributing most notably to human recommended dietary requirements were potassium, iron, copper, and zinc. These findings indicate that wild fallow deer meat is a nutritious food source and should enhance utilisation of such products.
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