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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 1994

Intramuscular fat and muscle fibre lipid contents in halothane-gene-free pigs fed high or low protein diets and its relation to meat quality



Immediately after exsanguination, samples were taken from M. longissimus dorsi (LD) and M. biceps fermorsi (BF) of halothane-gene-free Swedish Yorkshire pigs (entire males and gilts) fed a high-protein (18.5% crude protein, 0.96% lysine; n = 20) or a low-protein diet (13.1% crude protein, 0.64% lysine; n = 20). The lipid content, measured as triglyceride (TG), was analysed after the samples had been freeze-dried and dissected free from blood, fat and connective tissue. Fibre type composition (type I, IIA, IIB, IIC) was analysed by histochemical staining on all samples. In 14 samples of LD, representing the entire variation of the intramuscular fat content (IMF) among the 40 animals, fibre areas, lipid content and oxidative capacity within the fibre types were evaluated. IMF, meat colour and drip loss were measured in both muscles. Shear force was measured on cooked meat samples from LD. IMF was higher in both LD (2.5%) and BF (2.0%) from pigs on the low-protein diet compared with LD (1.5%) and BF (1.3%) from pigs on the high-protein diet. TG content did not differ between diets in BF but was higher in LD from pigs on low- vis-a-vis high protein diet. A significant correlation was seen in LD between IMF and TG content (r = 0.57; P<0.001). Fibre type composition did not differ between pigs on the two diets. BF had a higher proportion of type I and IIA fibres and a lower proportion of IIB fibres, compared with LD. TG content in muscle was not correlated with fibre type composition or staining intensity for lipids and oxidative capacity. High staining intensity for lipid in LD was seen in all type I fibres and in some type IIA fibres. Meat quality parameters did not differ between groups except shear force, which was higher in pigs fed the high- vis-a-vis low-protein diet (4-7 and 4.0 kg/cm2, respectively). Shear force was correlated significantly with TG content (r = -0.42; P<0.01) and IMF (r = -0.43; P<0.01) in LD.The results of this study show that lipids are stored mainly in type I fibres and in some type IIA fibres. Intracellular triglycerides account for only a small fraction of IMF. The results indicate that IMF and TG content in muscle fibres may be related to shear force.

Published in

Meat Science
1994, Volume: 38, number: 2, pages: 269-277

      SLU Authors

    • Essen-Gustavsson, Birgitta

      • Department of Medicine and Surgery, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences