Thirty commercial rabbit carcasses weighting 836-1413 g were sealed in the Spanish market and were retailed according to the WRSA norms to obtain four parts: fore legs, thoracic cage, loin and hind part. The loin was separated into abdominal walls, Longissimus dorsi (LD) muscles and spine cut; hind legs and sacrum were separated from the hind part. Each joint was carefully dissected to separate edible meat from bone. Meat of each of the 210 samples (180 from joints and 30 representing meat from the whole carcass) was ground and was scanned by NIRS reflectance in quadruplicate; the four spectra from each sample were averaged. 36 samples were selected according to spectra characteristics and chemically analysed for crude protein, crude fat and moisture content and then used for re-calculating some previously obtained equations of calibration. With the new equations, the chemical composition of the 174 samples not analysed was determined. Meat from the fore legs had 20.2% of protein, 7.4% of fat and 71.2% of moisture; thoracic cage meat had 18.7%, 12.8% and 66.9% respectively; LD muscle: 22.1%, 1.2% and 75.6%; abdominal walls 20.9%, 7.6% and 70.1%; spine meat: 20.7%, 7.9% and 70.0%; hind leg meat: 21.2%, 3.0% and 74.7%; meat from the whole carcass: 20.8%, 7.1% and 71.2%. Correlation analysis indicates that meat from the fore leg is a good predictor of the chemical composition of the whole carcass meat (r = 0.82 for crude protein, r = 0.92 for crude fat and r = 0.95 for moisture).
chemical composition; meat; rabbit; NIRS