A halothane test to detect turkeys prone to developing pale, soft, and exudative meat.
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The turkey industry suffers from pale, soft, and exudative meat (PSE) that is unsuitable for further processing because of excessive color variation, poor meat binding, and depressed water holding ability. This condition is caused by accelerated postmortem muscle metabolism and is thought to be related to a similarly inherited condition in swine. A quick, nondestructive method of screening animals is needed to avoid further propagation of PSE in breeding flocks. In this study, a halothane test used with swine was evaluated as a possible detection method for PSE-susceptible turkeys. In Experiment 1, a commercial strain of 4-wk-old male turkeys (n = 116) was exposed to 3% halothane gas for 3 min (6 L/min) and examined for leg muscle rigidity. Experiment 2 followed similar testing measures, using two strains of growth-selected turkeys (n = 504). Measurements of pH, R-value (ratio of inosine:adenosine), color, and expressible moisture content were made from each bird's breast fillet to determine whether the muscles of the responding birds would develop PSE characteristics. Five percent of tested birds in the first experiment and 2% in the second experiment exhibited rigid legs, indicating some of the discriminating power of this test. However, the data indicated that the characteristics of muscles from these birds did not differ from those of the nonresponding birds (P < 0.05). Possibly, the birds may need to be screened or slaughtered at a different age or using different methods.