New strategies to improve porcine meat quality by lessening animals’ stress

After performing different experiments, UdG researcher Núria Panella provides evidence in her doctoral thesis that reducing pigs’ stress before slaughtering has a good effect on meat quality.

The main objective of this research by Nuria Panella, a scientist at the University of Girona (UdG), has been studying strategies connected with some factors that appear before the pigs are slaughtered. By changing the animals’ behavior, they are able to lessen their stress and, as a consequence, get better meat.

In a first phase, the researcher tried to reduce the stress in a sample of 72 animals. One of the precautions was the fast: not feeding the pigs before taking them to the slaughterhouse to prevent dizziness. Also, Panella reduced the waiting time at the slaughterhouse because the longer the animals wait, the greater their anxiety is.

In a second phase, it was taken into account the susceptibility of pigs determined by the RYR1 gene, which regulates stress resistance. The research also studied the effect of mixing both magnesium and tryptophan in the animals’ feed. This experiment took a sample of 61 and 69 animals, respectively, and these pigs were fed with this food on the five days prior the slaughtering.

Results showed that most sensitive animals react to treatment with magnesium, so the researcher succeeded to lessen stress negative consequences. On the other hand, the quality of meat is enhanced when tryptophan is added in the animals’ diet.

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Proyecto financiado por el Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte en el marco del Programa Campus de Excelencia Internacional

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