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The effect of dietary protein supply on carcass composition, size of organs, muscle properties and meat quality of pigs

Livestock Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.livsci.2006.09.021
  • Pig
  • Protein
  • Carcass Characteristics
  • Muscle Fibres
  • Glycolytic Potential
  • Meat Quality
  • Biology


Abstract This study investigated the effect of dietary protein supply on growth performance, carcass composition and size of organs in pigs slaughtered at the age of 165 ± 2 d. In addition, we analysed muscle fibre properties and glycolytic potential of light muscles longissimus lumborum (LD), semimembranosus (SM), and gluteus superficialis (GS), and dark muscles infraspinatus (IS) and masseter (M) of 20 gilts and 20 barrows. Of these pigs, 16 were Finnish Landrace, 16 were Finnish Yorkshire, and 8 were crosses of these breeds. The pigs were fed low-or high-protein diets formulated to contain 6.0 and 9.5 g of apparent ileal digestible lysine/feed unit (1 fu = 9.3 MJ NE), respectively. The pigs were fed according to a restricted weight-based feeding scale (13–30 MJ NE/d). Lean meat, fat, bones, and skin of the carcasses as well as organs were dissected and weighed. The pH value was measured 45 min post mortem from LD, and 24 h post mortem from LD, SM and GS. Drip loss, lightness (L ⁎) and redness (a ⁎) were measured from LD, SM and GS. Pigs with a low-protein supply showed a lower growth rate ( P < 0.01), carcass weight ( P < 0.01), and carcass lean meat content ( P < 0.01), but higher carcass fat content ( P < 0.01) and smaller kidneys ( P < 0.01) than did pigs with a high-protein supply. In LD, the differences in cross-sectional areas in all muscle fibre types ( P < 0.05) between the feeding groups were significant; in GS we found significant differences in cross-sectional areas of type IIA and type IIB ( P < 0.05), while in SM we found no differences in muscle fibre cross-sectional areas between the feeding groups ( P > 0.05). We found no such differences in the dark muscles studied. We also took into account the effect of both the breed and sex on the studied properties. The low-protein diet increased glycolytic potential in porcine LD and SM, and decreased the pH value measured 45 min post mortem from LD. The dietary protein supply affected no other meat quality traits studied. A more rapid drop in pH in LD resulted in a lighter and less red meat with higher drip loss.

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