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Effect of age at slaughter on carcass traits and meat quality of Italian heavy pigs


, : Effect of age at slaughter on carcass traits and meat quality of Italian heavy pigs. Journal of Animal Science 81(10): 2448-2456

Barrows and gilts (n = 128) from four breed crosses were used to investigate the effect of age at slaughter on carcass traits, proteolytic enzyme activity, and meat and fat quality. Pigs were blocked by breed cross into four blocks, and within blocks, one pen (eight barrows and eight gilts) was assigned randomly to be slaughtered at either 8 or 10 mo of age. Pigs were fed a corn-barley-soybean meal finisher diet from 104 [plus or minus] 2.5 d of age (37.7 [plus or minus] 0.33 kg BW) to the appropriate slaughter age. Carcasses from older (10 mo) pigs had lower (P < 0.01) muscularity indexes and lean cut yields than those of younger (8 mo) pigs, but dressing percentage and longissimus muscle area increased (P < 0.01) with age. Older pigs produced a redder (P < 0.01) and darker (P < 0.05) semimembranosus, with lower (P < 0.01) ultimate pH and cathepsin B and B + L activities, as well as higher (P < 0.01) aminopeptidase hydrolyzing activity than younger pigs. Moreover, the longissimus muscle of pigs slaughtered at 10 mo of age had lower (P < 0.01) drip and cooking loss percentages than that from pigs slaughtered at 8 mo of age. Ham subcutaneous fat from 10-mo-old pigs had greater (P < 0.05) percentages of oleic acid and lower (P < 0.01) proportions of moisture, linoleic, and linolenic acids than subcutaneous fat from pigs slaughtered at 8 mo of age. Results from this study indicate that fresh hams from pigs slaughtered at 10 mo of age would be more suitable for the production of high-quality, Italian, dry-cured hams. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

US$29.90

PMID: 14552371


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