Effects of Dietary Levels of Locust (Zonocerus variegatus) Meal and Cooking Methods on Meat Quality of Growing Rabbits
This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary locust (Zonocerous variegatus) meal and cooking methods on the meat quality of growing rabbits. Twenty-eight (28) weaned rabbits at the age of 6 weeks (average weight 500±12g) of mixed sex and breeds (Dutch and New Zealand white) were used in this study. The rabbits were randomly allotted to four dietary treatments (0, 5, 10 and 15% locust meal) and three cooking methods (simmering, pan-frying, and grilling) in a 4 × 3 factorial arrangement in a completely randomized design. Results showed that the meat of rabbits fed 0 and 15% locust meal (LM)diet had similar but higher P<0.05 values for crude protein (24.64 and 23.42%, respectively) than in other treatments. Ether extract (EE) and Gross energy (GE)contents were higher (P<0.05) in rabbits fed diet containing 15% LM (10.70% and 198.9 Kcal/100g, respectively). Processing methods had effect (P<0.05) on the proximate composition and GE of rabbit meat. Simmering (SM) and Pan-frying (PF) had higher (P<0.05) and similar values for crude protein (16.67 and 17.91%, respectively). Interactions between inclusion levels of LM in diets and processing methods were significant at P<0.05 and P<0.01. Processing method affected the organoleptic properties of rabbit meat. Simmered meat had better (P<0.05) colour, taste, texture, flavour, aroma and acceptability attributes (2.64, 2.81, 2.29, 2.68, 2.62, 2.37, 2.66%, respectively). Results for microbiological load of rabbit meat indicated that there were differences (P<0.05) in parameters measured, although values were lower than recommended threshold levels. It was concluded that the dietary inclusion of LM at levels up to 15 %, improved nutrient and sensory qualities of rabbit meat. Processed meat from rabbits fed 5% LM and meat processed using simmering method had the best overall sensory attributes. Rabbit meat subjected to pan-frying as a cooking method presented the least microbial load. Microbial load of processed (simmered, pan-fried or grilled) rabbit meat stored for up to seven days was within acceptable limits for food products.
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