The influence of rate of lean and fat tissue development on pork eating quality

P. J. Blanchard, Michael Ellis, C. C. Warkup, B. Hardy, J. P. Chadwick, G. A. Deans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The influence of plane of nutrition and diet on the eating quality of fresh pork was investigated in a study involving 721 animals. Boars and gilts of three genotypes (0, 0·25 and 0·50 Duroc inclusion level) were reared from 30 to 90 kg on seven feeding regimens (combinations of diet formulation and feeding level) to achieve different rates of lean and fat tissue growth during two growth periods (30 to 60 or 75 kg; 60 or 75 kg to 90 kg), respectively. A diet of conventional energy and protein (CEP, 14·2 MJ/kg digestible energy, 205 g/kg crude protein, W g/kg lysine) was given using combinations of ad libitum and restricted feeding to produce six treatment groups with variation in lean and fat growth rates. An additional treatment group was given food ad libitum on a higher energy and lower protein diet (HELP, 14·7 MJ/kg digestible energy, 166 g/kg crude protein, 7·0 g/kg lysine) between 30 and 90 kg. Dissected carcass composition at 90kg was predicted from equations based on P2 fat depth, which were developed from full-side and ham joint dissections on sub-samples of animals. Representative sub-samples of animals were dissected at start (30 kg) and at interim weights (60 or 75 kg) to allow lean and subcutaneous fat growth rates to be calculated for all or parts of the growth period. The feeding regimes produced substantial variation in live-weight gain (DLWG) (744 to 914 g/day) and lean tissue growth rate (LTGR 345 to 417 g/day) and subcutaneous fat growth rate (SFGR 81 to 97 g/day), between 30 and 90 kg, and in longissimus dorsi intramuscular fat content (10·37 to 23·87 g/kg). Pigs given the HELP diet had the highest intramuscular fat and the best eating quality. Pigs offered the CEP diet ad libitum throughout the growth period produced more tender but less juicy meat than those given food restrictedly (0·8 or 0·9 of ad libitum). The correlations between DLWG, LTGR and SFGR for the whole or parts of the growth period and sensory characteristics, although often positive, were generally low, suggesting weak relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-485
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1999


  • Lean
  • Pigs
  • Plane of nutrition
  • Sensory evaluation
  • Subcutaneous fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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