Nutritive Value of agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) meat in comparison to selected domesticated animals
Keywords:Dasyprocta leporina, Cavia porcellus, Gallus domesticus, Oryctolagus cuniculi, polyunsaturated fatty acids, saturated fatty acids, developing countries, functional foods
AbstractPresently the world is facing tremendous challenges in feeding persons who reside in developing countries. This is due, among other factors, to increasing incidences of global pandemics and climate change. As such alternative protein sources must be investigated. One such protein source for human consumption can come from the wildlife or non-domesticated neo-tropical animals. One such animal is the agouti (Dasyprcota leporina) that has been reported to have the potential to be domesticated. If this animal species is to be used as an animal protein for humans, the nutritive value of its meat must be known. To the authors’ knowledge there is little information on the nutritive content of agouti meat. As such the aim of this experiment was to record the proximate composition and mineral content of agouti meat. The meat parameters of the agouti were also compared to other domesticated species (chicken, rabbit and guinea pig). Meat samples from each species were analysed to determine mineral content, proximate composition as well as fatty acid composition. Results showed that the agouti had the highest protein (22.18%) content with the lowest fat (1.96%) and energy (22.50 kJ/g) content when compared with the domesticated species. The mineral analysis showed that agouti meat had the highest iron (87.21µg/g). The agouti and guinea pig had the lowest sodium (7624 and 2135µg/g) contents in comparison to chicken and rabbit. The fatty acid profile of agouti meat was not analysed and this is an area in urgent need for investigation. However, the fatty acid analysis was done for guinea pig, rabbit and chicken meat. The guinea pig meat was found to have the lowest saturated fatty acids (29.06%) and the highest polyunsatured fatty acids (41.92%). This showed that guinea pig meat is a healthy option for human diets if taken in the correct amounts. This study proves that the agouti and guinea pig meat can be a healthy alternative source of animal protein for the developing countries and with further research can be developed into a functional food.