Meta-analysis of effects of gender in combination with carcass weight and breed on pork quality

L Trefan, AB Doeschl-Wilson, JA Rooke, C Terlouw, L Bunger

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Meta-analysis was performed to quantify the effects of gender in combination with carcass weight and breed on pork quality. Altogether published results from 43 references were used. The traits analyzed were pH at 45 min (pH45min) and pH at 24 h (pH24hr) postmortem, objective color attributes lightness (L*), redness (a*), and yellowness (b*; CIE color system), color and marbling scores, drip loss, intramuscular fat content (IMF), and backfat thickness (P2), as well as sensory scores of juiciness and tenderness. Data for 2 muscle types, LM and Musculus semimembranosus (SMM), were used for the analysis. Swine genders were defi ned as intact/entire male (EM), surgically castrated male (SM), immunocastrated male (IM), and entire female (EF). After standardization of scaled traits (color, marbling scores, juiciness, tenderness) and accounting for cold carcass weight (CW), statistical analysis was performed using mixed models where breed was included as random effect. The analysis found a general effect of gender on each trait and multiple comparisons identifi ed signifi cant differences among the individual genders for L* (lightness), marbling scores, IMF, P2 in LM, and pH24hr in SMM. For these traits, when genders were grouped into gender categories as “castrates” (IM, SM) and “natural genders” (EM, EF), signifi cant differences were found among estimates related to these categories. Furthermore, signifi cant differences were found between castrates and individual gender types, indicating that castrated animals statistically segregated regarding their pork quality and regardless of type of castration. Pork of SM/EM animals has been found to be the fattest/leanest and there is indication that IM pork has the lightest meat color. Carcass weight dependence was found to be nonlinear (quadratic) for a*, P2, and marbling scores, and linear for b* and color scores in LM and pH24hr in SMM. The analysis identifi ed signifi cant breed effects for all traits, with large variation in the actual magnitudes (~10 to 100%) of breed effects among individual traits. The established CW dependencies of pork quality traits in combination with the other infl uencing factors investigated here provides pork producers with the opportunity to achieve desired pork quality targets for a wide range of CW (~30 to 150 kg) under standard indoor-rearing conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1480 - 1492
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Publication statusPrint publication - Mar 2013

Bibliographical note



  • Gender
  • Meta-analysis
  • Pig
  • Pork quality
  • Sex


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