Evaluation of Duroc- vs. Pietrain-sired pigs for carcass and meat quality measures.
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Crossbred progeny sired by either Duroc or Pietrain boars, normal for the ryanodine receptor gene, were evaluated for carcass composition and meat quality. Boars from each breed were mated to Yorkshire or F1 Yorkshire-Landrace females. A total of 162 off-spring was evaluated for carcass and meat quality traits at a common age (approximately 26 wk of age). Duroc-sired progeny had heavier (108.0 vs. 103.0 kg, P < 0.001) and longer carcasses (86.9 vs. 84.8 cm, P < 0.01), whereas Pietrain-sired pigs had less backfat at the first rib (44.6 vs. 47.7 mm, P < 0.01), last lumbar vertebrae (20.9 vs. 23.0 mm, P < 0.05), and 10th rib (23.0 vs. 25.5 mm, P < 0.01). No difference between Pietrain and Duroc progeny was detected for fat depth at the last rib (27.8 vs. 28.8 mm, respectively). Pietrain progeny had a higher percentage of lean at slaughter (52.6 vs. 50.7, P < 0.05) and higher dressing percentage (74.0 vs. 73.1, P < 0.01). Primal cut weights were collected with Pietrain progeny having a greater percentage of carcass as ham (23.0 vs. 22.4, P < 0.01) and loin (21.6 vs. 21.2, P < 0.05), whereas Duroc progeny had a higher percentage of belly weight (12.0 vs. 11.7, P < 0.05). Percentages of Boston butt (8.8 vs. 9.0) and picnic shoulder (9.9 vs. 9.9) were similar for Duroc vs. Pietrain progeny. Total weight of these five primal cuts, as a percentage of carcass weight, was higher for Pietrain progeny (75.2 vs. 74.3, P < 0.01). With heavier carcass weight, Duroc progeny had greater primal cut weights as a function of age. Subjective meat quality scores for color, marbling, and firmness (1 to 5 scale) were more favorable for Duroc-sired progeny. Furthermore, chops from Duroc progeny had higher 24-h pH (5.53 vs. 5.48, P < 0.001) and Minolta a* (17.33 vs. 17.04, P < 0.05) with less percentage drip loss (2.88 vs. 3.80, P < 0.001). No differences were detected between Duroc- and Pietrain-sired progeny for Minolta L* (54.77 vs. 55.37) or b* (7.58 vs. 7.58) objective color scores, percentage cooking loss (28.63 vs. 29.23), or Warner-Bratzler shear force (6.94 vs. 7.11 kg). Both sire breeds have beneficial traits that can be utilized in commercial pork production and merit further study.