Nutrient Composition of Fed Bison
The long-term goal
of this project is to develop an adequate database on the nutrient composition
of the North American bison. With
mandated nutritional labeling of processed meat products, it is only a matter of
time before nutritional labeling of fresh meats will be required.
Physicians, dieticians, and consumers will be able to utilize this data
to make intelligent, informed decisions. This
project provides information which may be utilized in developing marketing
strategies for both the domestic and international markets.
from the round, loin, rib, and chuck will be analyzed from 100 fed bison.
Animals sampled will come from various geographic areas of the United
States and Canada. They represent the current types of bison being marketed
through restaurants and supermarkets. Nutrient
parameters obtained will be moisture, protein, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol,
energy, minerals (sodium, iron, calcium), and vitamins (A and C).
are occurring in the food industry. Currently
published data, based mainly on the loin eye muscle, indicates bison is a highly
nutrient-dense food. The demand for
live bison and bison meat already exceeds supply.
The bison industry is one of the fastest growing alternative agriculture
enterprises, and an increase of 25% every year until 2005 is expected.
The industry response to
this increasing demand is to provide consistent, highly palatable, nutritious
meat to the consumer. This
information will be used to comply with demands for nutrient labeling of
products, to give consumers suggestions on the proper cooking of bison products
to maximize nutritional value, and to develop marketing strategies, especially
for international trade. Knowing the nutritive value of bison will encourage
consumers to plan healthy meals with this wholesome, delicious product.
Bison producers will be able to utilize this database to know their
feeding regime is producing a quality product for the marketplace.
The objective of
the project was to determine the nutritional composition of bison meat cuts from
the round, loin, rib, and shoulder for nutritional labeling.
In addition to the required minerals for nutritional labeling, we were
able to determine seven additional minerals.
We have analyzed for calcium (Ca), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), magnesium
(Mg), manganese (Mn), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sodium (Na), zinc (Zn), and
selenium (Se). Twelve long-chain
fatty acids have been identified. We
are initiating studies to determine thiamin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and E
(alpha and gamma tocopherol), in addition to vitamins A and C.
Summary of Research Completed and in Progress
To date, we have
collected and initiated chemical analysis on a total of 400 bison meat samples
(100 animals) representing nine states and three provinces.
The samples represent the four areas of the carcass (round, loin, rib,
shoulder). Analysis has been
completed on the number (N) of animals indicated.
All cuts averaged 74% moisture, 22% protein, 2% fat, 1.2% ash (mineral).
Cholesterol content averaged 66 mg/100 gm, with energy value of 145
calories. If you calculate energy
as food energy, it would be 110 calories. This
is because energy is required to convert protein into calories or food energy.
When you compare
the various parts of the carcass, you see differences in the various components.
Moisture ranged from 74.0% in the ribeye to 75.4% in the clod muscle of
the shoulder. Protein varied from a
low of 21% in the clod to a high of 22.3% in the round.
The round also had the least amount of fat, with 1.6%, while the sirloin
contained 2.4%. The cholesterol
content as determined by chromatography varied from 61 mg/100 gm in the ribeye
to 71 mg/100 gm in the sirloin. These
are similar to values we previously reported (Marchello et al., 1989).
Recent results by other investigators have shown lower cholesterol
levels. Those researchers are using
a different technique to analyze for cholesterol.
The technique they use gives lower cholesterol numbers for all animal
This type of
research begs the question, “How does this compare with other meats?”
This is difficult to answer in a strictly objective manner because of the
many factors that influence nutritional composition (age, sex, type of feed,
individual muscle, etc.). In order
to be the most objective, I have given an example comparison that was conducted
in our laboratory under the same conditions.
Furthermore, the comparison was done on the type of meat that is normally
found in the stores and is available to us as consumers.
This is only a partial list of all the nutrients.
As you can see, bison compares quite favorably with the other meats
Minerals are an
important part of the nutrient composition of animals.
They are essential for many metabolic reactions.
Information on three of these minerals is required for nutritional
labeling, but other minerals may be included if you so desire.
We have analyzed for 10 different minerals, and, as suspected, bison
compares very favorably with other animals.
Bison is low in calcium relative to Recommended Daily Requirements (RDA),
ranging from 4.1 mg/100 gm in the clod muscle to 5.9 mg/100 gm in the ribeye.
It is an excellent source of iron, containing around 3 mg/100 gm in the
various muscles analyzed. Sodium
has been criticized as contributing to hypertension.
Bison is low in sodium, ranging from 48 to 60 mg/100 gm in the ribeye and
clod muscles, respectively.
Vitamins A and E
are fat-soluble and, because bison is low in fat, the quantity of these vitamins
in bison meat is very small. Vitamin
A averaged 0.00079 mg/100 gm, with a range of 0.00064 in the clod to 0.00094 in
the sirloin. This extremely small
amount is because of the low fat content of bison and the fact that vitamin A is
fat-soluble. Alpha-tocopherol and
gamma-tocopherol (two forms of vitamin E) content was 0.047 and 0.013 mg/100 gm,
respectively. We were unable to
detect any vitamin C in the various meat samples with our equipment.
Additionally, we have analyzed for Vitamin B6.
The results from 12 animals range from a low of .22 mg/100 gm to a high
of .28 mg/100 gm in the top round. Ribeye
and top sirloin contained .25 mg of Vitamin B6.
Even though fat in
the diet has been touted as being bad, fats are a very important component of a
balanced diet. Fat adds to the
unique flavor and appetite appeal of bison, provides essential fatty acids, and
aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Bison meat is low in fat, having a balance of approximately 50%
saturated, 37% monounsaturated, and 9% polyunsaturated fats.
Sirloin contained the least amount of saturated fat with 49%, while round
had the greatest amount with 52%. Round
had 35% monounsaturated fat, with ribeye and sirloin possessing 39%.
Bison is relatively high in polyunsaturated fat, ranging from 7% in the
ribeye to 10% in the round.
Differences in nutrient composition of meat can be attributed to many
factors, such as age, sex, function of the individual muscle in the live animal,
and condition of the animal at the time it is harvested.
Variations of a component can be as great among individuals within a
species as between species. These
differences are taken into account by analyzing a significant number of animals,
as we have done in this study. Results
of this study substantiate our previous study, although minor changes in some
nutrients have occurred. This study
confirms that bison meat is a highly nutrient-dense food because of the proportion of protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins in relation to
its caloric content.