Putting the Spring back into the Hare ( Pedetes capensis): Meat Chemical Composition of an Underutilized Protein Source

Sara Wilhelmina Erasmus, Louwrens C. Hoffman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Alternative protein sources are gaining increasing global attention as a solution to address future protein demands. Determining the chemical composition of meat alternatives is vital to confirm that it is nutritious, but also to increase product value and promote its utilization. The carcass characteristics and chemical composition of springhare, an underutilized protein source, was found to be comparable to that of commercially reared rabbits. Hence, its introduction into the commercial supply chain would likely not offset consumers accustomed to purchasing rabbit/hare meat. Springhare meat had a high protein content (~22.5 g/100 g meat) and low lipid (<1.3 g/100 g meat) content. The meat's fatty acids mainly comprised C18:2n6c (γ-linoleic acid; 24%), C18:0 (stearic acid; 20%), C16:0 (palmitic acid; 19%), C20:4n6 (arachidonic acid; 15%) and C18:1n9c (oleic acid; 13%). Although sex did not significantly influence the carcass characteristics and meat composition, season did have an effect (p < 0.05) on the fatty acid profile. The meat harvested in summer had higher (p < 0.05) concentrations of favorable unsaturated fatty acids, C18:2n6c, C18:3n6, C18:3n3 (α-linolenic acid), C20:2n6 (eicosadienoic acid), C20:3n3 (eicosatrienoic acid), compared to the meat obtained in winter, which contained more (p < 0.05) saturated fatty acids. The results verify that springhare can be utilized as a viable alternative protein source. Keywords: alternative proteins; springhare; underutilized animal-based foods.
Original languageDutch
Article number9081096
Number of pages15
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020

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