Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Ractopamine is safe for use in Brazilian pork

Feed additive has no affect on meat quality or taste

Animal scientists in Brazil have found that a small dose of the feed additive ractopamine can boost pork production without changing how pork looks or tastes.

In the latest issue of the Journal of Animal Science, researchers report that a 5 mg/kg dose of ractopamine increased muscle mass and feed efficiency, and had no noticeable effect on pork marbling, fat content, toughness or color. The researchers came to this conclusion by testing pork from 340 pigs raised under commercial conditions.

"We found that if [pork producers] use 5 mg/kg of ractopamine in the finishing diet of swine that should result in no detrimental effects on fresh pork quality and cooked pork palatability," said Natália Bortoleto Athayde, an animal scientist at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil.

Ractopamine is a common feed additive in Brazilian and U.S. pork production. The additive increases the size of muscle fibers by increasing protein synthesis in muscle cells. Many pork producers use ractopamine because it allows pigs to grow larger with less feed.

However, some scientists have reported reduced pork quality with higher doses of ractopamine. To test this finding, Athayde and other researchers split a herd of pigs into three groups and gave them 0, 5 or 10 mg/kg of ractopamine during the last 28 days before slaughter. They then slaughtered the pigs and tested the pork pH, temperature, color, drip loss, marbling, intramuscular fat, cooking loss and tenderness. According to Athayde, analyzing meat color is important because meat color changes can be a sign of stress in an animal.

The researchers found that though 5 mg/kg had no noticeable effects, pork from the 10 mg/kg pigs was lighter and less tender than pork from control group pigs. Athayde said this confirms previous studies showing that 5 mg/kg is an appropriate dose in Brazilian commercial pork production.

"Pork is the most animal protein consumed in the world, and Brazil is currently the fourth largest producer of this meat," said Athayde. "We export about 15 percent of pork we produce and we believe it is extremely important to know the quality of the meat that we offer to the world."

Athayde recommends further studies of how ractopamine affects animal behavior, consumer health and the environment.

This paper is titled "Meat quality of swine supplemented with ractopamine under commercial conditions." It can be read in full at

Media Contact:

Madeline McCurry-Schmidt
American Society of Animal Science
Scientific Communications Associate
217-689-2435 /

Madeline McCurry-Schmidt | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Harnessing a peptide holds promise for increasing crop yields without more fertilizer
25.11.2015 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Study shows how crop prices and climate variables affect yield and acreage
18.11.2015 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

Im Focus: Climate Change: Warm water is mixing up life in the Arctic

AWI researchers’ unique 15-year observation series reveals how sensitive marine ecosystems in polar regions are to change

The warming of arctic waters in the wake of climate change is likely to produce radical changes in the marine habitats of the High North. This is indicated by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Harnessing a peptide holds promise for increasing crop yields without more fertilizer

25.11.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Earth's magnetic field is not about to flip

25.11.2015 | Earth Sciences

Tracking down the 'missing' carbon from the Martian atmosphere

25.11.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>