Free-Range and Low-Protein Concentrated Diets in Iberian Pigs: Effect on Plasma Insulin and Leptin Concentration, Lipogenic Enzyme Activity, and Fatty Acid Composition of Adipose Tissue
Food Science and Technology, Escuela de Ingenierías Agrarias, Universidad de Extremadura, Avda. Adolfo Suárez s/n, 06007 Badajoz, Spain
Research University Institute of Agricultural Resources (INURA), Avda. de Elvas s/n, Campus Universitario, 06006 Badajoz, Spain
Animal Production, Escuela de Ingenierías Agrarias, Universidad de Extremadura, Avda. Adolfo Suárez, 06007 Badajoz, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1917; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101917
Received: 10 September 2020 / Revised: 13 October 2020 / Accepted: 16 October 2020 / Published: 19 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Production Strategies for High-Quality, Traditional Pig Products)
Recently, it has been shown that reducing dietary crude-protein levels during the final fattening period prior to slaughter is a suitable strategy to increase intramuscular fat content in Iberian pig meat, without affecting pig growth. Investigating the effect of a low-protein diet on the metabolism, development, and composition of the adipose tissue of Iberian pigs, and the obese porcine breed, was the objective of this study. Three groups of pigs fed under free-range conditions and in confinement with concentrated diets with low- and standard-protein contents were studied. All three groups exhibited the same backfat thickness at the end of the fattening period. The level of hormones and activities of enzymes related to adipogenic metabolism were affected by diet, with differences between free-range and intensive feeding systems. Therefore, we suggest that feeding Iberian pigs on low-protein diets did not result in fatter carcasses, and is thus a useful strategy to improve Iberian pig meat quality.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of diets with different protein contents on carcass traits, plasma hormone concentration, lipogenic enzyme activities, and fatty acid (FA) composition in the adipose tissue of Iberian pigs. Twenty-four castrated male Iberian pigs (eight per feeding diet) were fed under free-range conditions with acorns and grass (FR), and in confinement with concentrated diets with standard (SP) and low-protein contents (LP) from 116.0 to 174.2 kg live weight. Backfat thickness was not affected by diet. The plasma leptin concentration was higher (p < 0.001) in the FR group than in the LP and SP groups, while insulin concentration was higher in the SP group than in the LP and FR groups. The lipogenic enzyme activities of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, malic enzyme, and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase were lower in the FR group compared to the LP and SP pigs. The activities of these enzymes were adipose-tissue-specific. No differences were found in FA composition of adipose tissue between the SP and LP groups, while the FR pigs had lower proportions of saturated FA and higher proportions of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated FA than the SP and LP pigs. In conclusion, feeding low-protein diets in Iberian pigs does not seem to affect adipose carcass traits, strengthening previous findings that indicate that this is a good strategy to improve meat and dry-cured product quality.