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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Non-destructive evaluation of carcass and ham traits and meat quality assessment applied to early and late immunocastrated Iberian pigs

Font-i-Furnols, M.; Garcia-Gudino, J.; Izquierdo, M.; Brun, A.; Gispert, M.; Blanco-Penedo, I; Hernandez-Garcia, F., I


Castration is a common practice in Iberian pigs due to their advanced age and high weight at slaughter. Immunocastration (IC) is an alternative to surgical castration that influences carcass and cut fatness. These traits need to be evaluated in vivo and postmortem. The aims of the present work were (a) to determine the relationship between ham composition measured with computed tomography (CT) and in vivo ultrasound (US) and carcass fat thickness measurements, (b) to apply these technologies to early (EIP) and late (LIP) immunocastrated Iberian pigs in order to evaluate carcass fatness and ham tissue composition and (c) to assess meat quality on these animals and to find the relationships between meat quality traits (namely, intramuscular fat (IMF)) and fat depot thicknesses. For this purpose, 20 purebred Iberian pigs were immunocastrated with three doses of Improvac (R), at either 4.5, 5.5 and 9 or 11, 12 and 14 months of age (EIP or LIP; respectively; n = 10 each) and slaughtered at 17 months of age. Fat depots were evaluated in vivo by US, in carcass with a ruler and in hams by CT. Carcass and cut yields, loin meat quality and loin acceptability by consumers were determined. Also, IMF was determined in the loin and three muscles of the ham. Carcass weight was 14.9 kg heavier in EIP vs LIP, and loin backfat thickness (US- and ruler-measured) was also greater in EIP. Similarly, CT-evaluated ham bone and fat contents were greater and smaller for EIP vs LIP, respectively. Loin and ham IMF were also greater in EIP, but the other meat quality parameters were similar. The acceptability of meat by consumers was high and it did not differ between IC protocols. Correlations between several fat depots measured with the different technologies were high. In conclusion, all these technologies allowed fat depot measurements, which were highly correlated despite being obtained at different anatomical locations. (C) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of The Animal Consortium.


Computed tomography; Consumer; Fatness; Pork; Ultrasound

Published in

2021, Volume: 15, number: 4, article number: 100189
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Food Science

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