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  • Dr.Thomas Lipid Group

Big game cervid meat as a potential good source of plasmalogens for functional foods

Thu Huong Pham, Charles F.Manful, Ryley P. Pumphrey, Melissa C.Hamilton, Oludoyin A. Adigun, Natalia PrietoVidal, Raymond H.Thomas

Accepted 12 November 2020, Available online 4 December 2020.


  • Big game cervids are excellent natural sources of plasmalogens.

  • The lipid profile is distinctive for moose and caribou skeletal muscle tissues.

  • Cervid meat or antlers could be used as potential ingredients in plasmalogen supplements.

  • Alternative uses as natural sources of plasmalogen.


Plasmalogen deficiency is associated with increased risks for diabetes mellitus, cancer, cardiac and respiratory diseases, and more recently Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Diet remains one of the most important sources of plasmalogen for humans. There is increasing interest in finding unique natural sources of plasmalogen to be used in the development of functional foods, as well as to improve plasmalogen intake during normal food consumption. Big game cervids meat is gaining popularity as a superior source of protein with enhanced levels of functional lipids. Herein, we show that moose (Alces alces) and caribou (Rangifer tarandus) contain high levels of plasmalogens in their polar lipid composition, e.g., 50–59 % of plasmalogen phosphatidylcholine (pPC) and 56–61 % plasmalogen phosphatidylethanolamine (pPE). Caribou was found to be rich in plasmalogen pPC content (59 %), while moose was dominant in plasmalogen pPE content (61 %). Moose meat is characterized by having ten-folds higher concentration of lyso-plasmalogen pLPE at 417 ± 55 μg/g as compared to 42 ± 4 μg/g and 36 ± 7 μg/g in caribou meat and moose antler, respectively. The phospholipid composition with high plasmalogen content reported in caribou and moose meat/antler suggests that they may serve as natural dietary sources of plasmalogens during normal food consumption.

Graphical abstract

Fig. 6. (A) Principal component analysis (PCA) showing the segregation of caribou and moose meats or moose antler based on their PC and PE lipid sub-classes distribution. (B) One-way ANOVA showing the levels of PC and PE lipid subclasses segregated in each quadrant (Q1-Q4) of correlation biplot following principal component analysis. Values in bar chart (nmol% of total PC + PE) represent means ± S.E., n = 4 per experimental replicate with 2 sub-samples of CM and MM and 3 sub-samples for MA. Means which are significantly different (p < 0.05) are denoted by different letters.

Fig. 8. Plasmalogen content of Big game cervids meat and antler in this study compared to that of other sources of meat (beef, lamb and pork), fish, and poultry products (Blank et al., 1992; Boselli et al., 2008; da Silva et al., 2012; Fogerty et al., 1991; Mankidy et al., 2010; McIntyre et al., 2008; Restuccia et al., 2012; Takahashi et al., 2018). (A) pPC or pPE plasmalogens presented as percentage (%) within each individual phospholipid class and (B) % plasmalogens of total (PC + PE) phospholipids in the samples.

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