Reciprocal Meat Conference Abstracts

Variation in Meat Quality Characteristics of Whitetail Deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) in Ohio

  • M. N. LeMaster (The Ohio State University)
  • S. S. Chauhan (The Ohio State University)
  • E. A. Ramsuchit (The Ohio State University)
  • A. E. Yousef (The Ohio State University)
  • E. M. England (The Ohio State University)


ObjectivesConsumption of venison from whitetail deer is increasing. However, due to certain hunting practices including improper exsanguination from marksmanship failures, inadequate postmortem temperature decline, and unhygienic conditions in the designated hunting areas, there is a potential for meat quality issues in venison. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to survey venison meat quality to provide characterization data for our meat processing partners from animals harvested during firearm season.Materials and MethodsWhole, boneless shoulders from 41 whitetail deer harvested from November 2015 to January 2016 were obtained from three separate venison processors. Shoulders were ground and a portion was frozen at –80°C for biochemical testing of pH, muscle pigment (myoglobin and hemoglobin) concentration, lactate, residual carbohydrate (glycogen + glucose + glucose 6-phosphate), and glycolytic potential. The remainder of the raw venison was mixed with a 15% NaCl solution at a 10:1 ratio (wt./vol.), formed into 70 g patties, vacuum sealed, and frozen at –20°C. After thawing overnight at 4°C, the patties were allowed to bloom at room temperature for 10 min and analyzed for Minolta color (L*, a*, and b*) and thaw loss. The patties were then cooked until an internal temperature of 71°C was achieved (∼2.5 min) and cooking loss, shrinkage, and Warner-Bratzler shear force were determined. Data are reported as mean ± SE with the minimum and maximum values from each analysis.ResultsIn general, venison meat quality varied dramatically (Table 1). Of the 41 samples, 15% (6/41) were classified as dark cutters (ultimate pH ≥ 6.0). The high prevalence of dark cutters could be due to antemortem stress and/or limited exsanguination allowing lactate transport out of the muscle prior to death. Despite a high degree of variability, ultimate pH was correlated to a number of biochemical and quality characteristics. The meat pH was negatively correlated with lactate (R2 = 0.51; P < 0.0001), residual carbohydrate (R2 = 0.28; P = 0.0002), and glycolytic potential (R2 = 0.37; P < 0.0001). The meat pH was also positively correlated with a* (R2 = 0.22; P = 0.0012) which suggests that pH affects meat color in whitetail deer which is consistent with other species.Table 1Fresh meat quality characteristics of whitetail deerMeasurementMinMaxMean ± SEpH5.586.425.81 ± 0.020Lactate, μmol/g32.6064.7049.40 ± 1.20Residual carbohydrate, μmol/g3.5078.3035.80 ± 3.00Glycolytic potential42.60210.90121.00 ± 6.60Muscle pigment, mg/g7.5014.9010.80 ± 0.30Lightness, L*31.7242.9536.22 ± 0.39Redness, a*8.4216.9011.70 ± 0.35Yellowness, b*3.058.665.75 ± 0.22Thaw loss, %0.253.861.45 ± 0.15Cooking loss, %8.4230.4921.47 ± 0.74Shrinkage, %5.1026.9012.4 ± 0.60WBSF, kg0.892.651.53 ± 0.07ConclusionThese data indicate that venison meat quality from whitetail deer harvested during firearm season in Ohio is highly variable.

Keywords: pH, venison, meat quality, whitetail deer, Odocoileus virginianus

How to Cite:

LeMaster, M. N., Chauhan, S. S., Ramsuchit, E. A., Yousef, A. E. & England, E. M., (2018) “Variation in Meat Quality Characteristics of Whitetail Deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) in Ohio”, Meat and Muscle Biology 1(2). doi:



Published on
31 Aug 2018
Peer Reviewed