Negative effects of stress immediately before slaughter on pork quality aggravated by suboptimal transport and lairage conditions

E. Hambrecht, J.J. Eissen, D.J. Newman, C.H.M. Smits, L.A. den Hartog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The objectives of the present experiment were 1) to study the effects of transport conditions and lairage duration on stress level, muscle glycolytic potential, and pork quality; and 2) to investigate whether the negative effects of high stress immediately preslaughter are affected by preceding handling factors (transport and lairage). In a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial design, halothane-free pigs (n = 384) were assigned to either short (50 min) and smooth or long (3 h) and rough transport; long (3 h) or short ( 0.30), tended to increase (P = 0.06) muscle glycolytic potential. Long transport tended to increase (P = 0.08) electrical conductivity, and decreased a* (P <0.01) and b* (P <0.02) values. Decreasing lairage from 3 h to 0.10) affect other pork quality traits. High stress decreased (P <0.001) muscle glycolytic potential, and increased (P <0.001) plasma lactate, cortisol, muscle temperature, rate of pH decline, and ultimate pH. Except for decreased (P <0.001) b* values, pork color was not (P > 0.40) affected by high stress, but water-holding properties (measured by electrical conductivity, filter paper moisture, and drip loss) were impaired (P <0.001) by high stress. Fiber optic-measured light scattering and Warner-Bratzler shear force were not (P > 0.12) affected by any treatment. Comparisons with the "optimal" handling (short transport, long lairage, and minimal stress) revealed that, with regard to water-holding properties, the negative effects of high stress were aggravated by suboptimal transport and lairage conditions. High stress alone increased electrical conductivity by 56%, whereas high stress in combination with short lairage led to an 88% increase. However, high preslaughter stress contributed most and was the major factor responsible for reductions in pork quality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-448
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume83
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • meat quality
  • halothane genotype
  • pre-slaughter
  • preslaughter stress
  • feed withdrawal
  • carcass yield
  • pigs
  • muscle
  • time
  • sensitization

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