Nutrient Content of Bison Meat from Grass- and Grain-Finished Bulls

By M. J. Marchello
Animal and Range Sciences Department
North Dakota State University
Fargo, ND and J. A. Driskell
Nutritional Science and Dietetics
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE

Summary

The nutrient content of grain and grass-finished bison are compared in this study. Macronutrient, mineral, and vitamin content of both types of bison meat are summarized. There are minimal differences in the nutrient content of grain and grass-finished bison.

Consumers are eating bison meat as an alternative meat. Approximately 300,000 bison

(Bison bison) are being raised for meat production in North America according to Sam Albrecht, Executive Director of the National Bison Association. Bison meat does provide nutrients to meet some of the nutritional needs of humans. Some controversy exists regarding the nutritive quality of grass- and grain-finished bison. The data which exist as to the nutrient content of meat from grass- and grain-finished bison are given in this paper. More detailed descriptions of the research from which these data are derived have been published.1-4

Shoulder clod (Triceps brachii), rib eye (Longissimus thoracis), top round (semimembranosus), and top sirloin (Gluteus medius) cuts were obtained from bulls. These cuts came from 31 grass-finished (average age = 32 months) and 100 grain-finished (average age = 24 months) bulls that were raised in various regions of the United States and Canada (Table 1). This should be representative of the bison meat that is available to consumers. Few differences in nutrient content were observed between the four cuts from grass-finished bulls;4 the same was true for the grain-finished.1-3 Therefore, the nutrient content of these four cuts were averaged. The macronutrient and food energy content of meat from grass- and grain-finished bison bulls is given in Table 2. Comments regarding the nutritional content 5-12 of this meat are also listed in Table 2. The functions of these macronutrients and food energy are discusssed in detail elsewhere. 12

The vitamin and mineral (micronutrients) content of meat from grass- and grain-finished bison bulls is given in Table 3. Comments regarding the nutritional content 5-7,9,10,12-15 of this meat are also listed in Table 3. The functions of these micronutrients are discussed in detail elsewhere.12

All of these nutrient content assays were done on raw or uncooked meat. This is the usual method for presenting such data in that consumers cook their meats in different ways and to different degrees of doneness. Moisture is lost during cooking, thus increasing the concentrations of minerals and protein in the cooked meat. The vitamin content of meat is decreased following cooking, with water-soluble vitamins, such as thiamin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, being about two-thirds retained and fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin E, about three-fourths retained.16 This same pattern has been observed in the cooking of meat from other species such as beef.16

The information given in the tables may be useful for nutritional labeling, though labeling is not required for fresh meat. Utilizing these data, producers can provide consumers with Nutrition Fact information. Based on current research only minimal differences exist in the nutrient content of meat from bison that have been finished on grass and those finished on grain. However, more research is needed, especially controlled feeding studies. It is important that the industry speak with one voice to consumers about the nutrient content of bison meat. Consumers frequently are more interested in how bison meat compares with meat from beef, pork, or poultry , and it compares well. Research indicates that bison meat contains many nutrients which are essential to human life and health.

References

  1. Marchello MJ, Slanger WD, Hadley M, Milne DB, Driskell JA. Nutrient composition of bison fed concentrate diets. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 11 :231; 1998.

  2. Driskell JA, Yuan X, Giraud DW, Hadley M, Marchello MJ. Concentrations of selected vitamins and selenium in bison cuts. Journal of Animal Science 75:2950; 1997.

  3. Driskell JA, Marchello MJ, GiraudDW. Riboflavin and niacin concentrations of bison cuts. Journal of Animal Science, in press.

  4. Marchello MJ, Driskell JA. Nutrient composition of grass- and grain-finished bison. Great Plains Research, in press.

  5. Food and Drug Administration. Food Labeling: Reference Daily Intakes and Daily Reference Values. Food Register October 29,1992 (58 FR 2206).

  6. Food and Drug Administration. Food Labeling: Nutrient Content Claims, General Principles, Petitions, Definitions of Terms; Definitions of Nutrient Content Claims for the Fat, Fatty Acid, and Cholesterol Content of Food. Federal Register December 17 , 1992 (58 FR 2302).

  7. Committee on Diet and Health, Food and Nutrition Board, National Research Council. Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1989.

  8. 8. American Heart Association. Dietary guidelines for healthy American adults: A statement for physicians and health professionals by the Nutrition Committee. Circulation 7:721A;1988.

  9. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology .Third Report on Nutrition

    Monitoring in the United States, Vol. 1-2. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office; 1995.

  10. Subcommittee on the l0th Edition of the RDAs, Food and Nutrition Board, National Research Council. Recommended Dietary Allowances. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1989.

  11. Neuringer M, Conner WE. n-3 fatty acids in the brain and retina: evidence for their essentiality. Nutrition Reviews 44:285;1986.

  12. Spallholz JE, Boylan LM, Driskell JA. Nutrition: Chemistry and Biology, 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL:CRC Press; 1999.

  13. Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press;1999.

  14. Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B 12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2000.

  15. Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2000.

  16. Yuan X, Marchello MJ, Driskell JA. Selected vitamin contents and retentions in bison patties as related to cooking method. Journal of Food Science 64:462;1999.

Table 1

ORIGIN OF GRASS- AND GRAIN-FINISHED BISON

State/Province Grass Grain
Alberta - 24
British Columbia - 6
California - 6
Colorado 1 3
Delaware - 1
Kansas 8 17
Manitoba - 6
Michigan - 3
Missouri - 3
Nebraska 5 -
North Dakota 2 14
South Dakota 5 15
Texas 3 -
Wisconsin 7 -
Wyoming - 4
TOTAL 31 100

 

Table 2

Comparison Of Macronutrient And Energy Content Of Raw Separable Lean From Grass- Vs. Grain-Finished Bison

Nutrient

Grass

Grain

Nutritional Commentsa

Protein (% )

21.5

21.7

Excellent source of protein

Moisture (%)

75.9

74.6

Typical of most meats

Fat (%)

1.7

2.2

Low in fatLow intakes associated with decreased incidence of heart disease & cancerDiet should contain <30% of calories

Saturated Fat(% of fat)

47.4

42.5

Low intakes associated with decreased incidence of heart disease & cancer

Monounsaturated Fat (% of fat)

35.4

46.5

Higher proportion associated with decreased incidence of heart disease & cancer

Oleic acid(% of fat)

34.0

42.7

Higher proportion perhaps associated with decreased incidence of heart disease

Polyunsaturated Fat (% of fat)

17.2

11.0

Higher proportion associated with decreased incidence of heart disease & cancer

Linoleic Acid(omega-6)(% of fat)

13.8

10.5

Recommended w-6:w-3 intake is 4-10:1

Linolenic Acid(omega-3)(% of fat)

3.4

0.5

 

Ash (%)

1.2

1.2

Reflective of total mineral content

Cholesterol(mg/100 g)

65

66

Lean meatLow intakes associated with decreased incidence of heart disease & cancer

Food Energy(kca1/100 g)

133

141

Relatively low in calories

Note: Recommended ratio of saturated:monounsaturated:polyunsaturated fats is 1: 1: 1 with <10% of calories from each aReferences 5-12.

Table 3

Comparison Of The Vitamin And Mineral Content Of Raw Separable Lean

From Grass- Vs. Grain- Finished Bison

 

 

 

 

Mean %
Daily Valueb

Mineral

Grass

Grain

Nutritional Commentsa

Grass

Grain

Calcium (milligram/100g)

5.5

4.9

Not good source

c

<1

Copper

(microgram/100 g)

160

142

Some samples may contain 10+% and thus be a good source

8

7

Iron (milligram/100g)

2.8

2.9

Both are good sources

16

16

Magnesium

(milligram/100g)

25.8

24.2

Some samples may contain 10+% and thus be a good source

6

6

Manganese

(microgram/100g)

11.5

13.4

If use % Lower Estimated Safe & Adequate Daily Dietary Intake as is no Daily Value

<1

<1

Phosphorus

(milligram/100g)

181

198

Grass-finished is good source while grain- finished is excellent source

18

20

Zinc (milligram/100g)

3.3

3.8

Both are excellent sources

22

25

Sodium 

(milligram/100g)

44.7

52.2

Both are low in sodium Recommended intake is High sodium intakes are associated with increased incidence of hypertension

-d

-

Potassium 

(milligram/100g)

305

336

2000 mg is Estimated Minimum Requirement

-

-

Selenium 

(microgram/100g)

105

26

If use Recommended Dietary Allowance as is no Daily Value

191

47

Vitamin A

(microgram/100g)

-

0.8

Not a good source

-

<1

B-Carotene

-

nd

Moderate intake levels may be associated with decreased incidence of heart disease and cancer

-

-

Vitamin C

(milligram/100g)

-

nd

Not a good source

-

<1

Thiamin 

(milligram/100g)

-

0.043

Not a good source

-

3

Riboflavin 

(milligram/100g)

-

0.940

Some samples may contain 10+% and thus be a good source

-

6

Niacin

(milligram/100g)

-

1.910

Good source

-

10

Vitamin B6 (milligram/100g)

-

0.240

Good source

-

12

Vitamin Bl2 (microgram/l00g)

-

2.565

Excellent source

-

43

Vitamin E

(milligram alpha-tocopherol)

-

0.048

Not a good source

1

<1

aReferences 5-7,9,10,12-15. These vitamins and minerals perform many functions in the body which are detailed elsewhere (reference 12). Low intakes of several of these nutrients have been associated with increased incidence of heart disease, while excessive consumption of a few of these may also result in effects detrimental to human health.

bDaily Value (given as a percentage) is an expression of recommended intake per serving that is utilized in the nutritional labeling (as Nutrition Facts) according to Food and Drug Administration regulations (reference 5).

cContains less than 1% of the Daily Value.
dNo Daily Value exists/data have not been published.

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