Effects of housing conditions of slaughter pigs on some post mortem muscle metabolites and pork quality characteristics

E. Lambooij, B. Hulsegge, R.E. Klont, H.A. Winkelman-Goedhart, H.G.M. Reimert, R.W. Kranen

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    26 Citations (Scopus)


    The results of two experiments studying the effects of housing conditions on post mortem muscle metabolism and meat quality are presented. In the first experiment slaughter pigs (n = 71) from two different crossings, were raised at a density of 0.7 m(2)/animal, (10 pigs/pen) either with (enriched) or without (conventional) a bedding of daily fresh straw. In the second experiment, animals (n=60) were reared under either conventional or free range housing (1.25 m(2)/animal, 30 pigs per pen) conditions. Main differences between conventional and enriched housed pigs were found in the biceps femoris (BF) muscle, and related to temperature, drip loss and colour. Association studies revealed that there were significant correlations between early (0-4 h) post mortem muscle pH and glycogen and lactate concentrations and between muscle pH measured at 1 h post mortem and muscle rigidity, expressed as the rigor value. There were significant differences with respect to meat quality and post mortem metabolism of the longissimus lumborum (LL), between conventional and free-range pigs. Early postmortem pH (0-4 h) was highest in the free-range pigs, due to low lactate concentrations. The relatively fast pH decline in the conventionally housed group resulted in increased amounts of water exuding from the meat, as measured by the filter paper method. The ultimate pH, was lowest in the free-range animals. The differences in ultimate pH, however, had no effect on drip or cooking losses. It can be concluded from these results that enrichment of the housing system has little effect on the course of the post mortem metabolism and meat quality. However, increasing the freedom of movement by applying lower stocking densities, affects the post mortem muscle metabolism, resulting in reduced water exudation. Correlations up to 0.7 between energetic parameters are not sufficiently high to be useful to predict meat quality of individual carcasses. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)855-862
    JournalMeat Science
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • different halothane genotypes
    • meat quality
    • drip loss
    • environmental enrichment
    • physiological-responses
    • anesthetized pigs
    • growing pigs
    • stress
    • exercise
    • behavior

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