Tenderness is one of the most important characteristics of meat quality and its value depends on the muscle fibre types, amount and type of connective tissue, as well as many on other factors, such as age and sex of animals. The objective of the research study was to assess the effect of age and sex of roe deer on tenderness and other quality characteristics of their meat. The research was conducted on a m. longissimus lumborum muscle (LL). The meat of 2 to 3-year-old does was characterized by the highest level of tenderness, and, at the same time, by the lowest cutting force value (20.37 [N/ cm]. The meat of 2 to 3-year-old bucks was characterized by the lowest tenderness level (38.2 [N/cm]. The acidity of meat reached similar values in all groups analyzed: pH24 was between 5.53 to 5.57, and pH48 between 5.4 and 5.46. The water holding capacity of does’ meet was higher, and, at the same time, the free water content therein was lower, i.e. from 18.96 % in the meat of 2–to–3 year old animals to 19.54 % in 4-to-5-year-old specimens. As for the bucks, the free water content in the meat of 2-to-3-year old male deer was 20.74 % and 22.43 % in the meat of the oldest specimens (6-to-7-year old). The results obtained prove that variations exist in the values of some characteristics in the groups under research. Moreover, a positive dependence was found between the water holding capacity and tenderness of meat (r = 0.54; p < 0.05).
roe deer meat, age, sex, tenderness, pH, water holding capacity, pH