Keywords: camel age, muscle composition, Longissimus thoracis, meat quality, one-humped camel, Camelus dromedarius, dromedary camels, freeze drying, protein content, fat content, mineral content
Effect of age on quality and composition of one-humped camel Longissimus muscle
This study aimed to investigate the effect of camel age on meat quality and muscle composition. Samples of Longissimus thoracis muscle were randomly collected from 14 Arabian one-humped camels (Camelus dromedarius) of two age groups: Group 1 (2?4 year-old) and Group 2 (4?8 year-old) at the Muscat Municipality central slaughterhouse. Meat quality including muscle ultimate pH, W-B-shear force, expressed juice and colour lightness (L*), redness (a*) and yellowness (b*) were determined. Moisture, Crude Protein, fat and ash contents of freeze dried samples were determined mineral content was determined using an Inductively Coupled Plasma Emission Spectrometer (ICP). Group 1 had significantly lower ultimate pH value (5.71) and Warner-Bratzler (WB)-shear force value (6.98) and higher expressed juice (29.60 cm² g−1) than those collected from Group 2 (6.91, 13.4 and 21.26 cm² g−1, respectively). Camel meat from Group 2 (older camels) had significantly lower L* (31.69 vs. 37.74: p < 0.01), higher a* (16.18 vs. 13.37: p < 0.05) and b* (7.26 vs. 6.09) than meat from Group 1 (younger camels). The protein content decreased whereas that of fat increased with camel age. Mineral content of muscle generally tended to increase with the age of the camel. This study indicated that age had significant effects on quality characteristics of Arabian camel meat and confirmed that camel meat is healthy and nutritionous as it contains low fat (especially young camels) as well as being a good source of minerals.