A comparison of hydrogen ion concentration and pH genetic predictions and fixed effect estimations when assessing pork quality. Academic Article uri icon


  • An evaluation of ultimate pH (pH) and hydrogen ion concentration (H+) was conducted to determine if the mathematical conversion of H+ to pH could affect 1. fixed and random effect inferences and 2. prediction of genetic merit of animals when either pH or H+ is used as an indicator in the assessment of pork quality. Data from 4,262 purebred animals and 577 sires having complete three-generation pedigrees from the 1991 to 2001 National Barrow Show Progeny Tests were utilized in this study. Existing loin muscle pH data were converted to their original H+. Numerical changes in values occurred across all fixed effects and in the case of breed and test, changes in differences among subclasses occurred. These changes may result in differing inferences that can be made depending on whether pH or H+ is used as the dependent variable. Heritability estimates for pH and H+ were 0.52 +/- 0.074 and 0.62 +/- 0.078, respectively. The Pearson correlation between pH and H+ breeding values was -0.92. Spearman Rank correlation of -0.91 between pH and H+ breeding values was calculated and indicates that sires do not rank the same when ordered by breeding values for each trait. When pH is the selection objective, the selection differential reduction in H+ from these data ranges from 3.8 to 9.1%. Additionally, only 77.7% of the estimated genetic progress per generation in H+ is realized when selection (5% selected) is based on pH. The genetic correlation between pH and H+ was -0.96. Changes in the absolute values of the genetic correlations between various pork quality indicator traits and pH or H+ concentration were 0.04 or less. Differences in pH and H+ results could impact decisions made by swine breeders and meat processors who are concerned about pork quality. This, combined with the greater heritability and biochemical reality for H+, indicates that H+ rather than pH is the more appropriate trait breeders and processors should focus on when attempting to improve pork quality.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Stalder, K. J., Saxton, A. M., Miller, R. K., & Goodwin, R. N.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Stalder, KJ||Saxton, AM||Miller, RK||Goodwin, RN

publication date

  • March 2003