Feasibility of on/at Line Methods to Determine Boar Taint and Boar Taint Compounds: An Overview
IRTA-Product Quality, Finca Camps i Armet, 17121 Monells, Spain
ILVO-Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Animal Sciences Unit, 9090 Melle, Belgium
IFIP, Domaine de la Motte au Vicomte, 35650 Le Rheu, France
NOFIMA-Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, P.O. Box 210, N-1431 Ås, Norway
Department of Animal Sciences, University of Göttingen, Albrecht-Thaer-Weg 3, 37075 Göttingen, Germany
KIS-Kmetijski inštitut Slovenije, Hacquetova ulica 17, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 August 2020
Revised: 21 September 2020
Accepted: 9 October 2020
Published: 15 October 2020
Due to welfare issues, the physical castration of male pigs is decreasing, and the entire male pig production is increasing. Fattening entire male pigs requires control due to the possibility of accumulating off odour/flavour called boar taint, which is mainly due to two compounds - skatole and androstenone. If carcasses with boar taint reach the market, it can cause a negative consumer reaction which may have economic consequences for the whole meat chain. Thus, it is necessary to sort out carcasses at the slaughter line. Today, a sensory quality control (human nose method) is used in some slaughter plants for this purpose. Detection by physical or chemical methods is also envisaged. A colorimetric method to determine skatole has been used in Danish abattoirs for decades, but it is foreseen that it will soon be replaced by the laser diode thermal desorption ion source coupled with a mass spectrometry equipment that allows a fully automated classification based on skatole and androstenone levels at speed line, with a delay of less than 40 min. Other potential methods such as the electrochemical biosensors, rapid evaporative ionization mass spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy, still need further development and validation for an application at abattoir level.