Effect of restricted feeding and realimentation periods on pork quality and fatty acid profile of M. longissimus thoracis

Modifying feed intake during growth may change pork nutritional value and tenderness.
Tuesday 24 May 2011 (7 years 7 months 25 days ago)
The main aim of pig production is a good balance between growth of the animals and meat quality. Research results to date have shown that pork quality can be modified in many ways. For example, if the amount of deposited protein decreased during restricted feeding, the protein level will be restored in the first place during realimentation, even at the cost of fat deposition. The final chemical composition of the body depends on the duration of realimentation. For this reason, the aim of this experiment is show if the changes in feed intake at different stages of growth affect the quality of pork.

An experiment with 94 fattening pigs (48 gilts and 46 barrows) was conducted to determine the effect of feeding 25% restricted diets at different body weights on meat quality and fatty acid profile of M. longissimus thoracis (LT). During the 84 days of the experiment (4 periods, 21 days each), animals with an initial weight of about 31 kg were fed in different periods of observation ad libitum (A) or restricted diets (R) in groups AAAA, AARA, RAAA and RARA.

After 21 days of the experiment, the restricted-fed pigs, compared to those fed ad libitum, had a lower total fat content of M. longissimus thoracis (P<0.05), higher shear force (P=0.068), and lower proportions of SFA (C14:0, C18:0 P<0.05) and MUFA and higher proportions of PUFA (C20:4, C22:4 P<0.05) in the fatty acid profile. Three weeks after the restricted feed supply was lifted, the total fat content in LT muscle was higher than in animals fed ad libitum throughout (2.34 vs. 2.02), very close after the next 3 weeks of realimentation (3.16 vs. 3.15) and lower after another 3 weeks (3.19 vs. 3.49). Regardless of the time at which restricted feeding was started and the number of restricted feeding periods, the total fat content in the LT muscle at the end of the experiment was similar or lower in groups RAAA, AARA and RARA, compared to group AAAA. The coefficient of correlation between the total fat content in LT and the shear force was −0.36 (P<0.01). Colour, pH and drip loss did not depend on the level of nutrition. After 84 days of observation, animals from groups RARA and AARA, compared to pigs from groups AAAA and RAAA, were characterized by a slightly higher shear force of LT, lower SFA and MUFA (P<0.001), and higher n-6 PUFA (P<0.01) and n-3 PUFA (P<0.01) proportions in the fatty acid profile. The fatty acid profiles of AAAA pigs and pigs undergoing a 63-day realimentation period (RAAA) were similar. Regardless of the feeding scheme, the n-6:n-3 ratio exceeded 10 in all the groups.

J Więcek, A Rekiel, M Batorska and J Skomiał, 2011. Meat Science, 87: 244–249.

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