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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Accepted Articles
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.18.0670    [Accepted] Published online February 7, 2019.
Meat quality of pork loins from Hereford×Berkshire female and intact male pigs reared in an alternative production system
Yvette Robbins1, Hyun-Suk Park1, Travis Tennant2, Dana Hanson3, Niki Whitley4, Byungrok Min5, Sang Hyon OH5,*
1Department of Animal Science, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, NC 27411, USA
2Department of Agricultural Sciences, West Texas A&M University, Canyon, TX 79016, USA
3Department of Food, Bioprocessing, & Nutrition Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
4Department of Agricultural Sciences, Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, GA 31030, USA
5Department of Agriculture, Food, and Resource Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Ann, MD 21853, USA
Correspondence:  Sang Hyon OH, Tel: 410-651-7572, Fax: 410-651-7931, Email: syshoh@gmail.com
Received: 6 September 2018   • Revised: 23 October 2018   • Accepted: 10 January 2019
The objective of the present study was to investigate pork quality from Hereford×Berkshire (HB) female and intact male pigs reared outdoors in an alternative production system.
Berkshire purebred sows were artificially inseminated, once in the fall and again in the spring of the following year, with semen from Hereford boars and managed free of antibiotics in an outdoor hoop structure until the last month of pregnancy, after which they were moved to a pasture-based unit of 0.8 hectares with individual lots with a farrowing hut, shade, and water ad libitum. Piglets were weaned at 4 weeks of age and housed in a deep-bedded hoop structure, grouped by sex. Animals were harvested at market weight of 125 kg, approximately 200 days of age. Hot carcass weight was collected at the time of the harvest. After 24 hours of refrigeration, carcass characteristics were measured. Longissimus dorsi samples collected from the right side loin. Loins were cut into 2.54-cm thick chops and were used to measure marbling score, color score, drip loss, and ultimate pH. Sensory panel tests were conducted as well at North Carolina State University. For pork characteristics and sensory panel data, trial and sex were included in the statistical model as fixed effects. Hot carcass weight was included in the model as a covariate for backfat thickness.
Neither the subjective nor the objective color scores displayed any differences between the boars and the gilts. No difference was found for pH and marbling score between trials or sexes. Gilts had a thicker backfat measurement at the last lumbar and a narrower longissimus muscle area measurement when compared to the boars. The only difference in the sensory characteristics was found between the trials for texture and moisture scores.
Consumers were not able to detect boar taint under the condition of this study, which is that the intact males were reared outdoors. Additional trials would be necessary; however, based on the results of the present study, outdoor rearing can be suggested as a solution to the issue of boar taint.
Keywords: Pork Quality; Boar Taint; Outdoor Production; Sex

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