Effect of Free-Range and Low-Protein Concentrated Diets on Growth Performance, Carcass Traits, and Meat Composition of Iberian Pig
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
Centro de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas de Extremadura (CICYTEX-La Orden), Junta de Extremadura 06187 Guadajira, Badajoz, Spain
Animal Production, Escuela de Ingenierías Agrarias, Universidad de Extremadura, Avda. Adolfo Suárez, 06007 Badajoz, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 January 2020 / Revised: 7 February 2020 / Accepted: 9 February 2020 / Published: 11 February 2020
It is generally assumed in the Iberian pig sector that substitution of traditional free-range rearing, with acorns and grass, by mixed diets affects intramuscular fat content and fatty-acid composition, among others, causing a decrease in meat quality. As mixed diets are usually formulated with higher protein contents than those supplied by natural resources consumed by Iberian pig fed extensively, we hypothesized that the use of a low-protein diet in the final fattening period of pig could be a suitable strategy to improve meat and dry-cured product quality. However, it is also necessary to evaluate the effect of this strategy on performance and carcass traits of pigs. In this study, we found that Iberian pigs fed on low-protein diets had higher intramuscular fat content and different meat composition compared to pigs fed on concentrates with standard protein levels, which could be a suitable way of improving the Iberian pig meat and dry-cured product quality.
The feeding system is one of the main factors influencing the Iberian pig meat quality. This experiment was undertaken to evaluate the influence of feeding diets containing different levels of protein on performance, carcass, and meat quality of Iberian pigs. To that aim, 24 castrated male Retinto Iberian pigs with an average weight of 116 kg were fed under free-range conditions with acorns and grass (FR), and on concentrated diets in confinement with standard (SP) and low protein content (LP). The crude protein content in acorns was lower than that in the grass and SP diet, but similar to that in the LP diet. FR pigs needed more time to achieve slaughter weight than LP and SP pigs. Iberian pigs fed on low-protein diet (FR and LP) had a higher intramuscular fat content in the musculus serratus ventralis than SP pigs. The influence of diet on the fatty-acid composition was reflected more markedly in subcutaneous fat than in muscles. FR pigs showed a higher level of C18:1 n-9 and total polyunsaturated fatty acids and lower total saturated fatty acids in subcutaneous fat than LP and SP. It is concluded that diets with low protein levels do not affect Iberian pig productive traits but change the meat composition, rendering them an interesting strategy to improve the quality of Iberian pig meat and dry-cured products.
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