Improving pork quality by feeding supranutritional concentrations of vitamin D3. Academic Article uri icon


  • Duroc-cross pigs (n = 25) were assigned to one of three experimental finishing diets containing 0 (control), 40,000 (40), or 80,000 (80) IU of supplemental vitamin D3/kg of feed (as-fed basis)to test the effects of vitamin D3 on pork quality traits. Experimental diets were fed for 44 or 51 d before slaughter, and days on feed were blocked in the experimental design. A trend existed for pigs receiving the highest concentration of vitamin D3 supplementation to have a lower (P = 0.08) ADG (0.77 kg/d) compared with pigs fed either the 40-diet (0.88 kg/d) or control (0.92 kg/d). Diet did not (P > 0.10) affect backfat thickness measured along the midline, 10th-rib fat depth, longissimus muscle area, muscle score, or hot carcass weights. Longissimus pH, measured at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 24 h postmortem, was higher (P < 0.05) for pigs on the 80-diet than those fed the control diet. Longissimus muscle color, measured at 24 h postmortem, from pigs fed either the 40- or 80-diet were darker (lower L* values; P < 0.05) than those fed the control diet. Objective longissimus color scores were higher (P < 0.01), and firmness/wetness scores lower (P < 0.05), for pigs on the 80-diet as compared to those on the 40-diet or control diet. The diet had no (P > 0.10) effect on Warner-Bratzler shear force values; percentage of cook loss; or trained sensory panel evaluations for tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. Feeding the 80-diet increased (P < 0.05) plasma vitamin D3 and calcium after 2, 4, and 6 wk on feed compared with the control diet. Vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 concentrations in the longissimus muscle increased (P = 0.001) with increasing vitamin D3 levels in the diet; however, muscle calcium concentrations and fiber type were not (P > 0.30) affected by diet. These results indicate that feeding supranutritional levels of vitamin D3 for at least 44 d improves pork color and increases pH, but may retard growth if fed at 80,000 IU/kg of feed.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Wilborn, B. S., Kerth, C. R., Owsley, W. F., Jones, W. R., & Frobish, L. T.

citation count

  • 51

complete list of authors

  • Wilborn, BS||Kerth, CR||Owsley, WF||Jones, WR||Frobish, LT

publication date

  • January 2004