Finishing season and feeding resources influence the quality of products from extensive-system Gascon pigs. Part 1: Carcass traits and quality of fresh loin.

TitleFinishing season and feeding resources influence the quality of products from extensive-system Gascon pigs. Part 1: Carcass traits and quality of fresh loin.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsLebret, B, Lenoir, H, Daré, S, Fonseca, A, Fève, K, Riquet, J, Mercat, MJ
Date Published2021 Jun 16

Consumers perceive pork products from local breeds reared in extensive systems positively because of their specific quality properties and regional identity. The sensory, nutritional and technological qualities of these products depend, among other things, on pig production, especially its climatic conditions and the availability of feed resources, which can influence traits of muscle and fat tissue. The present study (part 1) was part of a larger project that assessed the influence of the finishing season and feeding resources on carcass and tissue traits and the quality of meat and dry-cured ham from Gascon pigs in an extensive system. Following the specifications of the Protected Designation of Origin "Noir de Bigorre", castrated Gascon males were reared on rangelands (grassland and forest areas) and received a supplementary diet from 5 to 6 months of age until slaughter at a minimum of 12 months of age and ca. 170 kg live weight. Three finishing seasons were considered as follows: Winter (n = 18), Spring (n = 22) and Autumn (n = 23). To estimate specific effects of season on productive and quality traits and avoid bias due to effects of genes known to influence these traits, polymorphisms in the RYR1, PRKAG3, MC4R and LEPR genes were included in the analysis models. The finishing season did not influence growth rate. Compared to Winter pigs, Spring and Autumn pigs had slightly lower carcass fatness (P < 0.05), higher ultimate pH and redder and darker color of the Longissimus muscle (LM) (P < 0.01). Loin drip loss was low overall, but was higher for Spring pigs, whereas cooking loss and shear force were similar among seasons. Spring pigs tended to have the lowest LM lipid content, whereas LM myoglobin content remained unaffected. Autumn pigs had lower potential of lipid oxidation in LM than Winter and Spring pigs (P < 0.01), but muscle metabolic traits assessed via glycolytic and oxidative enzyme activities did not differ among seasons. The finishing season modified the backfat fatty acid (FA) profile, with a lower polyunsaturated FA percentage in Autumn pigs than Winter or Spring pigs (P < 0.001), even though the saturated and monounsaturated FA percentages did not differ. In particular, Spring pigs had the lowest n-6:n-3 and C18:2:C18:3 ratios (P < 0.001), as a result of grazing. Overall, Spring and Autumn finishing seasons seem more favorable to technological and sensory pork attributes, with an additional positive effect of Spring finishing on pork nutritional value.

Alternate JournalAnimal
PubMed ID34147409