Caiman latirostris meat characterization: Evaluation of the nutritional, physical and chemical properties of meat from sustainable ranching program in Argentina

Melina S. Simoncini, María Carla Lábaque, Flavia Perlo, María E. Fernandez, Pamela M.L. Leiva, Arley Rey Paez, Gustavo Teira, Alejandro Larriera, Carlos I. Piña

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The scientific community has made considerable efforts to improve the production of protein from traditional sources. Currently it has also been focused on non-conventional protein sources, such as those produced in conservation and sustainable use programs, which would contribute to the improvement of local and national economies. In Argentina, the meat of Caiman latirostris (the Broad-snouted caiman) is consumed; since commercial breeding of C. latirostris in the country has been incorporated relatively recently compared to other species of crocodiles and is growing, the qualities of the products that can be marketed have still been scarcely determined. Knowledge of caiman meat and its physical and chemical characteristics are necessary to promote its consumption. Thus, physical and chemical characteristics, including pH, cooking loss, color, tenderness, moisture, protein and fat content were determined in the meat of C. latirostris. Fifteen caimans (n = 15; X ± SD; 97.4 ± 1.2 cm of length and 4.2 ± 0.15 kg of weight) raised in captivity by Proyecto Yacaré (program for conservation and sustainable use of caiman) were slaughtered; meat samples were taken from the tail muscle Ischio-caudalis. Caiman meat was found to be luminous and tender, with a low amount of intramuscular fat (0.8%), usual proportion of protein in animal tissues (20.5%) and a high proportion of moisture (77.2%). Fatty acid content in caiman meat consisted of 30.2% of saturated fatty acids (SFA), 69.9% of unsaturated fatty acids (UFA), 36.8% of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and 1.25 of PUFA/SFA ratio. Caiman meat (produced in management and conservation program in Argentina) might be marketed as a healthy meat given its very favorable lipid profile for human health, characterized by its low total lipid content, balanced fatty acids, tenderness and luminosity attributes, as well as characteristics similar to those of other usually marketed meats. The results may help to introduce an alternative source of protein and energy for human consumption, and to propose the meat of this caiman species as a healthy food. In addition, by involving local people, the activity improves the local economy and the economic return to the program, thereby supporting the conservation of this caiman species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number734570
StatePublished - Jan 15 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Broad-snouted caiman
  • Fatty acids
  • Healthy products
  • Management program
  • Proteins

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