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Volatile fingerprinting of boar taint by GC×GC-TOFMS

  • Dubois, Lena
  • Delhaye, Myriam
  • Mayeres, Patrick
  • Gillard, Nathalie
  • Delahaut, Philippe
  • Wavreille, José
  • Focant, Jean-François
Publication Date
Jun 09, 2021
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As a response to growing ethical constraints, the meat production industry has agreed to abandon surgical castration of male piglets towards 2018. However, raising uncastrated male pigs increases the risk commercializing meat with an undesirable taste know as boar taint. The main compounds contributing to the fecal, urine, and sweat-like taste or smell are androstenone, skatole, and indole. Different analytical methods have been proposed and validated for their quantification in plasma or fat tissue [1]. However, the application of these methods is oftentimes not applicable directly in a slaughterhouse routine due to time constraints related to the high throughput of industrial meat production processes. Only a few on-site options exist but are still at testing stage [2]. Therefore, it is common practice to conduct olfactive screening based on so called ‘soldering iron sensory methods’ carried out by trained assessor. Tainted carcasses are then pushed aside from commercialization. This is currently the fastest and least onerous procedure to determine boar taint presence but it is believed to suffer from inter-individual variations and limited correlation to instrumental measurements. The incidence of boar taint at commercial slaughters in Belgium is estimated to between 3 and 7% [3]. In this study, back fat and in-vivo samples (saliva, hair, semen) were analyzed with comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC×GC) coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) for volatile fingerprinting. References: [1] Heyrman et al. (2017). Animal, 11(11), 2084-2093. [2] K. Verplanken, S. Stead, Renata Jandova, C. Van Poucke, J. Claereboudt, J. Vanden Busche, S. De Saeger, Z. Takats, J. Wauters, L. Vanheacke, Talanta, 169 (2017) 30-36. [3] E. Heyrman, S. Millet, F.A.M. Tuyttens, B. Ampe, S. Janssens, N. Buys, J. Wauters, L. Vanhaecke, M. Aluwé, Animal, 11 (2017), 2084-2093.

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