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 journalofanimalscience.org.
American Society of Animal Science
Scientific Communications Associate
217-689-2435 / email@example.com
Madeline McCurry-Schmidt | Source: EurekAlert!
Further information: www.asas.org
More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:
Biodegradable or not?
10.12.2013 | Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Sustainable recultivation of abandoned agricultural land in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus
04.12.2013 | Leibniz-Institut für Agrarentwicklung in Mittel- und Osteuropa
Researchers from Brown University and the University of Hawaii have found some mineralogical surprises in the Moon's largest impact crater.
Data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper that flew aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter shows a diverse mineralogy in the subsurface of the giant South Pole Aitken basin.
The differing mineral signatures could be reflective of the minerals dredged up at the time of the giant impact 4 billion years ago, ...
In power electronics systems bonded connections create the central electrical connections between adjoining surfaces.
The quality of these bonded connections is one of the main factors that determines the reliability and availability of drive systems in electric vehicles, and hence constitutes a major design challenge for German auto manufacturers aiming to electrify their vehicles.
Now the partners participating in the RoBE (Robust Bonds in ...
International team of scientists develops new feedback method for optimizing the laser pulse shapes used in the control of chemical reactions
In many ways, traditional chemical synthesis is similar to cooking. To alter the final product, you can change the ingredients or their ratio, change the method of mixing ingredients, or change the temperature or pressure of the environment of the ingredients.
Like an accomplished chef, chemists have become very skilled ...
A genetic defect protects mice from infection with influenza viruses
A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens points out that mice lacking a protein called Tmprss2 are no longer affected by certain flu viruses.
The discovery was made by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig in collaboration with colleagues from Göttingen and ...
The Light: Global study gets underway with online user survey
Light has a fundamental impact on our sense of well-being and performance. In cooperation with Zumtobel, a supplier of lighting solutions, Fraunhofer IAO has launched a global user survey of lighting quality in offices. The objective is to identify the best lighting conditions for a variety of spaces and lighting ...
10.12.2013 | Physics and Astronomy
10.12.2013 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
10.12.2013 | Power and Electrical Engineering
10.12.2013 | Event News
05.12.2013 | Event News
04.12.2013 | Event News