The utilisation of game meat contributes towards various Sustainable Development Goals; however, it is necessary to quantify and optimise game meat quality for the commercial market to ensure high and uniform product quality to ensure consumer satisfaction. Understanding the factors that impact game meat quality, like muscle fibre composition, can provide insight into the expected meat quality of certain game species and subsequently determine appropriate processing and cooking techniques. Therefore, the aim of the study was to compare the muscle fibre characteristics of two farmed game species and cattle. Cattle (Bos Taurus; n = 10), common eland (Tragelaphus oryx; n = 10), and fallow deer (Dama dama; n = 10) were slaughtered at approximately 18 months of age. The samples of the longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL), triceps brachii (TB), and rectus abdominis (RA) muscles were analysed for muscle fibre composition. Cattle muscles had larger cross-sectional areas for all muscle fibre types within all muscles compared to the common eland and fallow deer muscles. The LTL of the fallow deer and eland muscles showed lower proportions of type I and higher proportions of type IIA fibres than cattle. Moreover, the proportion of type I fibres was lower in the LTL of fallow deer and eland compared to other muscles, differences that were not observed in cattle. These results may be an important indicator of changes in muscle mass that could occur in these farmed species as a result of future breeding selection.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher