December 10/Food Business Week-- "A study based on 15 entire donkey males was carried out to evaluate carcass quality and nutritional characteristics of meat obtained by these animals slaughtered at 15 months of age and a mean final body weight of 181kg," scientists in Matelica, Italy report.

"The meat had a low (2.02g/100g) fat content, an appreciable (22.8g/100g) protein content, and cholesterol content was 68.7mg/100g. Glycogen was also determined (0.45g/100g) within 12h of sampling. Potassium was the mineral with the highest content (343mg/100g), followed by phosphorus (212mg/100g), sodium (52mg/100g) and magnesium (24mg/100g)," wrote P. Polidori and colleagues, University of Camerino.

The researchers concluded, "Donkey meat obtained from young animals can be considered a good alternative to other red meats and not only for the production of salami or other fermented meat products."

Polidori and colleagues published their study in Meat Science ("Quality of donkey meat and carcass characteristics." Meat Science, 2008;80(4):1222-1224).

For additional information, contact P. Polidori, University of Camerino, Dipartimento Science Ambientali, Via Circonvallaz 93, I-62024 Matelica, MC, Italy.

From the December 22, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash