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Nutritional manipulation of meat quality

Pethick, D.W., Warner, R.D., D'Souza, D.N. and Dunshea, F.R. (1997) Nutritional manipulation of meat quality. In: Manipulating pig production VI: proceedings of the Sixth Biennial Conference of the Australasian Pig Science Association APSA, 7 - 10 December, Canberra, Australia pp. 91-99.

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Pork quality is still evolving as an area of intense interest as consumer demand for tender, juicy and tasty meat strongly influences the focus of the industry towards the quality of its products. The metabolism of glycogen is highlighted as a key determinant of pork quality through its influence on the rate and extent of pH decline post-slaughter. There is considerable genetic and nutritional scope for increasing muscle glycogen concentration pre-slaughter so as to prevent dark, firm, dry (DFD) pork but the resulting associated risk of increased pale, soft, exudative (PSE) pork would suggest that increasing muscle glycogen is not beneficial. However dietary manipulation to reduce the rate of glycolysis in muscle pre- and post-slaughter is of special interest since it will be associated with a reduced incidence of PSE pork. The role of dietary tryptophan and its effects on brain serotonin levels is discussed as a way of 'calming' pigs pre-slaughter. An additional approach is to utilize dietary magnesium as a means of reducing the secretion of catecholamines and so reduce the rate of post-slaughter glycolysis and PSE pork. The regulation of fat texture at both the subcutaneous and intramuscular sites is then discussed. The modern pig tends to show low rates of lipogenesis de novo and so relatively small changes in the ratio of saturated/unsaturated fatty acids in the diet can influence fat texture with decreases in the ratio being associated with softer fat. While the consumer associates more unsaturated fat with the perception of improved health, unsaturated fat has a softer texture and it is less desirable for the meat processing sector. This dichotomy needs to be addressed. Finally the role of vitamin E in promoting meat colour and reducing the incidence of PSE is discussed. Vitamin E supplementation is associated with improved meat colour during storage and reduced lipid oxidation, however the incidence of PSE is not reduced.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Publisher: Australasian Pig Science Association
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