Preslaughter handling effects on pork quality and glycolytic potential in two muscles differing in fiber type composition

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

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78 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of the present experiment was to investigate the effects of transportation, lairage, and preslaughter stressor treatment on glycolytic potential and pork quality of the glycolytic longissimus and the oxidative supraspinatus (SSP) or serratus ventralis (SV) muscles. In a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial design, 384 pigs were assigned randomly either to short (50 min) and smooth or long (3 h) and rough transport, long (3 h) or short (<45 min) lairage, and minimal or high preslaughter stress. Muscle samples were taken from the LM at 135 min and from the SSP at 160 min postmortem for determination of the glycolytic potential and rate of glycolysis. At 23 h postmortem, pork quality was assessed in the LM and the SV. Effects of transport and lairage conditions were similar in both muscle types. Long transport increased (P <0.01) the glycolytic potential and muscle lactate concentrations compared with short transport. Both long transportation and short lairage decreased (P <0.01) redness (a* values) and yellowness (b* values) of the LM and SV. In combination with short lairage, long transport decreased (P <0.05) pork lightness (lower L* values), and electrical conductivity was increased (P <0.05) after long transport. Several interactions between stress level and muscle type (P <0.001) were observed. High preslaughter stress decreased (P <0.001) muscle glycogen in both the LM and SSP, but this decrease was greater in the LM. Lactate concentrations were increased (P <0.001) only in the LM by high preslaughter stress. Increases in ultimate pH (P <0.001) and decreases in a* values (P <0.01) were greatest in the SV, whereas increases in electrical conductivity (P <0.001) were greatest in the LM. The lack of interactions among transportation, lairage, and muscle type was attributed to the relatively minor differences in stress among treatments. It was concluded that, in glycolytic muscle types such as the LM, the high physical and psychological stress levels associated with stress in the immediate preslaughter period have a greater effect on the water-holding capacity of the meat and may promote PSE development. Conversely, oxidative muscle types tend to have higher ultimate pH values and produce DFD pork in response to intense physical activity and/or high psychological stress levels preslaughter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-907
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • sus scrofa domesticus
  • meat quality
  • glycogen depletion
  • skeletal-muscle
  • slaughter pigs
  • stress
  • parameters
  • transport
  • exercise
  • time

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