Sources of variation in meat and carcass quality of pigs

E.F. Knol, K.A. Engelsma, J.W.M. Merks

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractAcademic


Predictable uniform pork quality is the goal for slaughter plants. 2526 animals of six sire lines and four dam crosses were born and raised on a Western European commercial farm and slaughtered and dissected in a large commercial slaughter plant to represent a standard situation.Phenotypic variation in 16 meat and 2 carcass quality traits wasanalyzed with ASReml and attributed to day of slaughter, weight,feeding system, sex, sire line, dam cross, litter and individual genetic variation. Heritabilities in strict sense were in line with literature values. Ratio between influence of sire line*dam cross and influence of slaughter day differed between 0.3 (Japanese color scale (JCS)) and3.0 (drip loss) for meat quality. Recorded traits (h2 ±SE) were: JCSloin (0.20 ±0.05), JCS inner ham (0.12 ±0.05), JCS outer ham (0.22±0.06), Minolta L (0.37 ±0.06), Minolta a (0.34 ±0.06), Minolta b(0.25 ±0.06), pH loin (0.23 ±0.05), pH ham (0.17 ±0.05), IMF (0.54±0.17), marbling loin (0.24 ±0.05), marbling ham (0.10 ±0.04), drip weight (0.23 ±0.06), drip score (0.15 ±0.05), drip loss (0.17 ±0.05),purge (0.18 ±0.06) and conductivity (0.27 ±0.06). For the two most relevant carcass traits (h2 ±SE): deboned loin weight (0.28 ±0.06) and deboned ham weight (0.36 ±0.06). Genetic correlations between meat quality traits show opportunities for indirect measurements (Minolta,pH and conductivity), they also show possibilities for simplified measurements (drip score). Heritabilities are interestingly high.Repeated meat quality measurements will further decrease the error term and increase the effective heritability. Uniformity in meat quality can be improved by using uniform sire line*dam cross, standardized shipping and processing, and genetic selection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-136
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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