Effects of increasing lysine on carcass composition and cutting yields of immunologically castrated male pigs

D. D. Boler, L. W. Kutzler, D. M. Meeuwse, V. L. King, D. R. Campion, F. K. Mckeith, J. Killefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this experiment was to determine if increasing lysine in the diets of immunologically castrated (IC) male pigs would increase percentage fat free lean and carcass cutting yields when compared with physical castrates. The anti-gonadotropin- releasing factor (GnRF) immunological product (Improvest, Pfizer Animal Health) is used worldwide to immunologically castrate entire male pigs to control boar taint and take advantage of the inherent ability of the entire male to deposit more muscle, less fat, and grow more efficiently than physically castrated males. The immunization process essentially allows the pig to grow as an entire male pig for most of its life and then removes any boar odor (boar taint) before slaughter. Reported lean meat advantages may also provide economic benefits to the domestic meat industry. Approximately 1,200 male pigs [physical castrates, IC males, and entire males] were each assigned to 1 of 4 diet programs which differed in lysine content. In each case, lysine was fed in a conventional step-down program that culminated with the following concentrations in the late finishing diet: physical castrates fed low lysine (0.7%), IC fed low lysine (0.7%), IC fed low/medium lysine (0.8%), IC fed medium/high lysine (0.9%), IC fed high lysine (1.0%), and entire males fed high lysine (1.0%). At 25 wk of age (5 wk post-second injection), pigs were individually weighed and the 2 pigs (n = 96) in each pen closest to the median pig BW were selected and slaughtered. The right side of each carcass was dissected into soft tissue, skin, and bone. Proximate composition was determined on the soft tissue to determine percentage fat-free lean. The left side of each carcass was weighed and initially fabricated into ham, loin, belly, and whole shoulder. Each primal piece was weighed again and further fabricated into respective subprimal cuts. Immunological castration did not change (P > 0.05) shear force values or ultimate pH when compared with either physical castrates or entire males. Marbling appeared to decrease as dietary lysine was increased among IC males. As expected, IC males had a greater (P < 0.05) percentage fat-free lean than physical castrates but less (P < 0.05) than entire males. Immunologically castrated males fed diets with medium/ high and high lysine had greater (P < 0.05) lean cutting yields and carcass cutting yields than physical castrates. Lean cutting yield and carcass cutting yields appeared to increase as dietary lysine was increased among IC males. Overall, immunological castration improved carcass cutability, increased percentage fat free lean, and had no effect on pork quality when compared with physical castrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2189-2199
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Cutting yield
  • Fat-free lean
  • Gonadotropin-releasing factor
  • Immunological castration
  • Lysine
  • Pig

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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