This study investigated the effect of fermented diet on growth performance, carcass traits, meat quality and growth of longissimus thoracis (LT) of finishing pigs. A total of 48 finishing pigs [Duroc × (Landrace × Large White), male, 126 ± 5-d-old] weighing 98.76 ± 1.27 kg were randomly assigned to two treatments (eight pens per treatment and three pigs per pen) for a 28-d feeding trial, including control diet and fermented diet. Fermented diet significantly increased the loin eye area and lean mass percentage, decreased backfat thickness and improved meat quality of LT by decreasing the shear force and drip loss at 48 h post slaughter and improving meat sensory characteristics compared with control diet. A fermented diet also significantly increased the abundance of insulin, insulin receptor (IR
), myoblast determination protein (MyoD)
and myosin heavy chain-I (MyHC-I
) transcripts, and the phosphorylation levels of AKT, mTORC1, 4EBP1 and S6K1 in LT, while decreasing the expression of muscle atrophy F-box (MAFbx
) and forkhead Box O1 (Foxo1
) mRNA transcripts. Moreover, proteomic analysis revealed that differentially expressed proteins predominantly involved in protein synthesis and muscle development were modulated by fermented diet. Our results indicated that a fermented diet improved meat quality and enhanced LT growth of finishing pigs by increasing insulin/AKT/mTORC1 protein synthesis cascade and activating the Foxo1/MAFbx pathway, along with the regulation of ribosomal protein and proteins involved in muscle contraction and muscle hypertrophy.
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