Rabbit meat has excellent nutritive properties. The purpose of this study was to characterize rabbit meat and offal; in particular, the lipid fraction was studied in order to evaluate total and positional fatty acid (FA) compositions of triacylglycerol (TAG) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) fractions. Eight samples of weaned and eight of fattened rabbits were considered. RESULTS: Fattened rabbit meat contained slightly higher protein percentage content (P < 0.05) in comparison to weaned (20.1% versus 18.0%). Calcium content was higher in meat than in offal, unlike sodium, iron, zinc, manganese and copper. The cholesterol content in offal was much higher than in meat. FA profiles of total lipid showed a high percentage of unsaturated fatty acids and an n-6/n-3 ratio of 10.3 for fattened rabbit meat. Stereospecific analysis of TAG and PC was carried out on an eight-sample pool of each meat and offal from weaned and fattened rabbits. In all samples the sn-2-position was prevalently esterified with oleic and linoleic acids in TAG, with polyunsaturated fatty acids in PC. CONCLUSION: Lipids from rabbit meat presented higher content of monounsaturated FA and lower n-6/n-3 ratio in comparison to offal, which was characterized by higher cholesterol and mineral levels.
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