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Total Iron, Heme Iron, Zinc, and Copper Content in Rabbit Meat and Viscera

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The aim of this study is to determine the content of total iron (TFe), heme iron (HeFe), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu) in different cuts of meat and viscera from rabbit. Five young New Zealand rabbits were used in the study. Samples in triplicate were obtained from three meat cuts (foreleg, hind leg, and loin) and from main viscera. TFe, Zn, and Cu concentrations from samples were determined by wet acid digestion followed by atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS), while HeFe was determined by acid extraction followed by AAS. Mean TFe, HeFe, Zn, and Cu in meat was 0.83 ± 0.09, 0.56 ± 0.11, 0.95 ± 0.35, and 0.08 ± 0.01 mg/100 g, respectively. TFe content was less than 1 mg/100 g in all meat cuts. Sixty-seven percent of iron content was HeFe. The cut of meat with highest Zn concentrations was the foreleg with 1.33 ± 0.12 mg/100 g. Cu content was low for all meat cuts. TFe, HeFe, Zn, and Cu content in viscera varied greatly. The spleen was the organ with the highest TFe and Zn concentrations (82.79 ± 9.22 mg/100 g and 3.49 ± 0.63 mg/100 g, respectively). Nevertheless, the lungs had the highest concentration of HeFe (5.79 ± 0.90 mg/100 g), accounting for 91% of the total iron. The liver had the highest Cu content (3.89 ± 0.89 mg/100 g). Rabbit meat has low TFe concentration, similar to that of poultry, and most of the iron is HeFe. The amount of minerals in viscera closely depends on their function.

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Total iron


Heme iron


Non-heme iron






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CV, MO, MSM, and FP conceptualized and designed the study; CV, CS, and FP collected and analyzed the data; CV, DLdR, MO, MSM, and FP interpreted the data; CV, DLdR, and FP drafted and revised the manuscript. The authors gratefully acknowledge the technical assistance of Maria Angelica Letelier. This work was supported by Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnologico (Fondecyt) Nº 1061060. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript. All authors declare no general, financial, or institutional competing interests.

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Correspondence to Fernando Pizarro.

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Supported by FONDECYT 1061060

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Valenzuela, C., de Romaña, D.L., Schmiede, C. et al. Total Iron, Heme Iron, Zinc, and Copper Content in Rabbit Meat and Viscera. Biol Trace Elem Res 143, 1489–1496 (2011).

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