Special Issue "Innovative Production Strategies for High-Quality, Traditional Pig Products"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Pigs".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Assoc. Prof. Giovanna Martelli, DipECAWBM (AWSEL)
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, 40064 Ozzano Emilia (BO), Italy
Interests: animal welfare; pig production; meat quality
Dr. Eleonora Nannoni, DipECAWBM (AWSEL)
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, 40064 Ozzano Emilia (BO), Italy
Interests: animal welfare; pig production; meat quality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In a number of European countries (e.g., Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland), a portion of the pig sector is aimed at the production of traditional and certified products (e.g., PDO—Protected Designation of Origin, PGI—Protected Geographical Indication). Dry-cured ham is probably the most famous traditional pork product; however, typical pork products are produced in (and exported to) many countries worldwide. The meat used for producing these high-quality delicacies needs to be suitable for seasoning and dry-curing, and these characteristics are the result of complex interactions between the animal (breed, genotype, rearing condition, feeding regime, age and weight at slaughter, etc.) and the environment, without disregarding the importance of ethical attributes such as animal welfare and the environmental impact.

This Special Issue focuses on all the innovative production strategies for pigs intended for high-quality, typical productions (in term of higher sustainability of the whole production chain, improvement of animal welfare, innovative feeding and farming techniques, reduction in environmental impact, improvement in meat and fat quality, etc.), with special emphasis on PDOs, PGIs, and other recognized production schemes, and it is aimed at providing new insights for a wide range of stakeholders from different countries.

Assoc. Prof. Giovanna Martelli, DipECAWBM (AWSEL)
Dr. Eleonora Nannoni, DipECAWBM (AWSEL)
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • pig
  • traditional products
  • geographical indication
  • meat quality
  • fat quality
  • animal welfare
  • feeding
  • sustainability
  • pig farming
  • pig breeding

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
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
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1917; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101917 - 19 Oct 2020
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Views of Farmers and Industrial Entrepreneurs on the Iberian Pig Quality Standard: An In-Depth Interview Research Study
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1772; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101772 - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
Since 2014, the Quality Standard for Iberian meat, leg ham, shoulder ham and dry-cured loin has regulated production factors and processes involved in the raw material and manufactured products from Iberian pigs, the most important pig breed in both population size and economic [...] Read more.
Since 2014, the Quality Standard for Iberian meat, leg ham, shoulder ham and dry-cured loin has regulated production factors and processes involved in the raw material and manufactured products from Iberian pigs, the most important pig breed in both population size and economic importance of the southwest Iberian Peninsula. Regarding the changes to the Quality Standard that industrial entrepreneurs and farmers are currently demanding, a qualitative research study has been developed through 14 in-depth interviews with the purpose of understanding the perception of Iberian pig farmers and industrial entrepreneurs of the requirements of the currently-effective Quality Standard, as well as the conditions under which this is being applied. The results showed a consensus amongst the majority of the participants in aspects such as the maintenance of the breed base as 100% Iberian for reproductive females, weight and age requirements at the time of slaughter for the montanera category and the manufacturing lengths for dry-cured products. On the other hand, there were discrepancies between the requirements defined by the Quality Standard and those requested by the respondents for the non-free-range fodder-fed and free-range fodder-fed categories, with the industrial entrepreneurs and farmers being inclined towards the reduction in the age of slaughter of the former and the distinction in the production conditions of the latter. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Short Period of Darkness after Mixing of Growing Pigs Intended for PDO Hams Production Reduces Skin Lesions
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1729; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101729 - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Agonistic behavior after the regrouping of unfamiliar pigs has been recognized as one of the major welfare issues for pig husbandry, as it may result in lesions, lameness, and health problems. One scarcely investigated strategy to curb agonistic behavior is reducing the availability [...] Read more.
Agonistic behavior after the regrouping of unfamiliar pigs has been recognized as one of the major welfare issues for pig husbandry, as it may result in lesions, lameness, and health problems. One scarcely investigated strategy to curb agonistic behavior is reducing the availability of visual stimuli potentially eliciting aggressions. In this study, we investigated the expression of agonistic behavior by growing pigs and the resulting accumulation of skin lesions over a period of 14 days following the formation of new social groups, which occurred in a condition of darkness maintained for 48 h. Compared to a simulated natural photoperiod (12 h light/day), darkness significantly reduced the number of skin lesions on the mid- and rear thirds of pigs’ body (p ≤ 0.01). A lack of corresponding decrease in frequency and duration of agonistic interactions suggests that darkness acts by decreasing the efficacy, not the expression, of aggressions. Furthermore, the location of lesions mostly affected by darkness indicates that the latter mostly acted by reducing the possibility of pigs to convey damage to a fleeing conspecific, rather than to one involved in a reciprocal fighting. The lighting regime provided did not affect growth performance traits of a 17-weeks feeding trial. The present results identify in the provision of darkness an easily applicable, and relatively inexpensive intervention, that leads to the reduction of skin lesions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Newly Identified LncRNA LncIMF4 Controls Adipogenesis of Porcine Intramuscular Preadipocyte through Attenuating Autophagy to Inhibit Lipolysis
Animals 2020, 10(6), 926; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10060926 - 26 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Intramuscular fat (IMF) is implicated in juiciness, tenderness, and flavor of pork. Meat quality of Chinese fat-type pig is much better than that of lean-type pig because of its higher IMF content. LncRNA is a vital regulator that contributes to adipogenesis. However, it [...] Read more.
Intramuscular fat (IMF) is implicated in juiciness, tenderness, and flavor of pork. Meat quality of Chinese fat-type pig is much better than that of lean-type pig because of its higher IMF content. LncRNA is a vital regulator that contributes to adipogenesis. However, it is unknown about the regulation of lncRNA on IMF content. Here, by RNA sequence analysis of intramuscular adipocyte from Bamei pig (fat-type) and Yorkshire pig (lean-type), we found that a novel lncRNA, lncIMF4, was associated with adipogenesis. LncIMF4, abundant in adipose, differently expressed along with intramuscular preadipocyte proliferation and differentiation. Meanwhile, it is located both in cytoplasm and nucleus. Besides, lncIMF4 knockdown promoted proliferation and differentiation of porcine intramuscular preadipocytes, whereas inhibited autophagy. Moreover, lncIMF4 knockdown facilitated intramuscular adipogenesis through attenuating autophagy to repress the lipolysis. Our findings will contribute to understand better the mechanism of lncRNA controlling intramuscular adipogenesis for promoting pork quality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Portuguese Local Pig Breeds: Genotype Effects on Meat and Fat Quality Traits
Animals 2020, 10(5), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050905 - 22 May 2020
Abstract
This work investigated the contribution of cross-breeding between two local Portuguese pig breeds to the conservation of animal biodiversity and income of local pig producers. Quality traits of semimembranosus (SM), gluteus medius (GM) and dorsal subcutaneous fat (DSF) were studied in Alentejano (AL), [...] Read more.
This work investigated the contribution of cross-breeding between two local Portuguese pig breeds to the conservation of animal biodiversity and income of local pig producers. Quality traits of semimembranosus (SM), gluteus medius (GM) and dorsal subcutaneous fat (DSF) were studied in Alentejano (AL), Bísaro (BI), AL × BI, and BI × AL (Ribatejano—RI) castrated male pigs. Pigs were reared outdoors, fed ad libitum, and slaughtered at ~65 (trial 1) and 150 kg BW (trial 2). In trial 1, AL pigs showed higher SM intramuscular fat, lower total collagen, and higher soluble collagen than BI pigs, while AL × BI and BI × AL pigs showed intermediate (NS) values. AL, AL × BI, and BI × AL pigs showed higher SM myoglobin content, and AL a more intense red colour than BI pigs. Finally, AL, AL × BI, and BI × AL showed higher total lipids in DSF than BI pigs. In trial 2, SM and DSF results were similar to those obtained in trial 1. In GM, AL and BI × AL showed higher intramuscular fat than BI and AL × BI pigs, while AL, AL × BI and BI × AL showed lower total collagen content than BI pigs. In conclusion, these results suggest that RI crosses are a productive alternative, with overall muscle and DSF traits statistically not different between AL × BI and BI × AL, and similar to those observed in AL pigs. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Meat Quality, Amino Acid, and Fatty Acid Composition of Liangshan Pigs at Different Weights
Animals 2020, 10(5), 822; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050822 - 09 May 2020
Abstract
Indigenous pig breeds are important biological resources and their diversity has been severely damaged. The Liangshan pig is a typical mountain-type local pig breed in southwest China. Here, the meat quality, amino acid, and fatty acid composition of Liangshan pigs were compared at [...] Read more.
Indigenous pig breeds are important biological resources and their diversity has been severely damaged. The Liangshan pig is a typical mountain-type local pig breed in southwest China. Here, the meat quality, amino acid, and fatty acid composition of Liangshan pigs were compared at seven stages within the weight range of 50–90 kg. A score for comprehensive factors of meat quality was maintained after rising and kept in a plateau within 74.9–91.5 kg of body weight. The total amount of amino acids in the longissimus dorsi muscle remained stable, and the total fatty acids showed an upward trend. Amino acid composition analysis revealed that as the body weight of Liangshan pigs increased, umami, basic, and acidic amino acid contents decreased, while the essential amino acids (EAA) content and the ratio of basic amino acids to acidic amino acids increased. Fatty acid composition analysis revealed that as body weight increased, the content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) exhibited a downward trend, while the content of saturated fatty acids (SFA) exhibited an upward trend. This study is a primary step towards the development and utilization of Liangshan pigs and provides useful information for local pork processing and genetic improvement. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Free-Range and Low-Protein Concentrated Diets on Growth Performance, Carcass Traits, and Meat Composition of Iberian Pig
Animals 2020, 10(2), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020273 - 11 Feb 2020
Abstract
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, [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Quality of Dry-Cured Ham from Entire, Surgically and Immunocastrated Males: Case Study on Kraški Pršut
Animals 2020, 10(2), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020239 - 03 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Alternative solutions to the surgical castration of piglets need to be assessed because this is a particularly sensitive issue for the processing of traditional pork products. Currently, the available information about the advantages and drawbacks of castration for dry-cured products is limited; thus, [...] Read more.
Alternative solutions to the surgical castration of piglets need to be assessed because this is a particularly sensitive issue for the processing of traditional pork products. Currently, the available information about the advantages and drawbacks of castration for dry-cured products is limited; thus, the objective of this study was to evaluate the quality of Slovenian dry-cured ham (Kraški pršut) from entire males (EM), immunocastrates (IC) and surgical castrates (SC). Hams (12 per sex group) were processed for one year and physical-chemical, rheological and sensory analysis of the dry-cured hams was performed. With regard to processing aptitude, the main difference was in the subcutaneous fat thickness, which influenced the level of dehydration and salt intake. This was further reflected in the physical-chemical traits and the texture, which were measured instrumentally or assessed by panelists. Regarding the aforementioned traits, EM and IC were generally similar and different from SC. On the contrary, sensory profiling of odor, taste and flavor demonstrated that EM had the lowest overall sensory quality, different from both IC and SC, and presented odors and flavors described as sweat, manure, sharp and persistent. We confirmed that dry-curing did not eliminate the perception of boar taint in the product from EM. The IC were similar in many aspects to EM except for the odor, taste and flavor of dry-cured hams, in which case they were more similar to SC. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Replacement of Synthetic vs. Natural Curing Agents on Quality Characteristics of Cinta Senese Frankfurter-Type Sausage
Animals 2020, 10(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010014 - 19 Dec 2019
Abstract
Frankfurter-type sausages (called sausages) were manufactured using Cinta Senese meat. Two different formulations were considered: (i) nitrite and nitrate as curing agents (NIT), (ii) natural mixture (NAT) totally replacing the synthetic curing agents. Microbiological, chemical, and physical characteristics during three different storage times [...] Read more.
Frankfurter-type sausages (called sausages) were manufactured using Cinta Senese meat. Two different formulations were considered: (i) nitrite and nitrate as curing agents (NIT), (ii) natural mixture (NAT) totally replacing the synthetic curing agents. Microbiological, chemical, and physical characteristics during three different storage times (7, 30, 60 days) were investigated, while sensorial traits were evaluated at the end of the period. The main foodborne pathogens (Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, coagulase positive Staphylococcus spp., Salmonella spp., total bacterium at 30 °C) were absent in both sausage groups. Both types of sausage had a high content of fat probably due to the high intramuscular fat of the local breed. The fatty acid composition of NAT sausages would seem slightly less efficient in the lipid oxidation control. Regarding color parameters, NIT sausages showed greater lightness and redness, while NAT ones were more yellow, thanks to the effect of nitrate on color. All texture parameters resulted higher in NIT, except for the springiness. Storage time mainly affected total microbial count, pH, and color. The addition of natural extract changed the perception of some sensorial properties above all in terms of taste and odor. Natural extract represented an alternative to synthetic additives in Cinta Senese sausages even if some attributes could be improved. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
High Altitude Adaptability and Meat Quality in Tibetan Pigs: A Reference for Local Pork Processing and Genetic Improvement
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1080; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121080 - 03 Dec 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The carcass and meat quality traits of pig breeds living at three different altitudes (Yorkshire pigs, YP: 500m; Qingyu Pigs, QYP: 1500m; Tibetan pigs, TP: 2500m) were compared. It was observed that there are obvious differences in pig breeds with respect to performance [...] Read more.
The carcass and meat quality traits of pig breeds living at three different altitudes (Yorkshire pigs, YP: 500m; Qingyu Pigs, QYP: 1500m; Tibetan pigs, TP: 2500m) were compared. It was observed that there are obvious differences in pig breeds with respect to performance parameters. Specifically, YP had the best carcass traits, showing high slaughter rates and leanest meat. Conversely, QYP had the highest back fat thickness and intramuscular fat (IMF) content. For the high-altitude breed TP, the animals exhibited low L* and high a* values. The genotypes contributing to the observed phenotypes were supported by a PCR analysis. The glycolytic genes expression (HK, PFK, PK) were highest in YP, whereas expression of genes related to adipogenesis (C/EBPα, FABP4, SCD1) were highest in QYP. As expected, genes associated with angiogenesis and hypoxia (HIF1a, VEGFA) were expressed at the highest levels in TP. The composition and proportion of amino and fatty acids in pig muscles at the three altitudes examined also varied substantially. Among the breeds, TP had the highest proportion of umami amino acids, whereas QYP had the highest proportion of sweet amino acids. However, TP also exhibited the highest proportion of essential fatty acids and the lowest proportion of n6:n3. This study explains the high-altitude adaptive evolution and the formation of meat quality differences in different altitude pigs from various angles and provides a reference for local pork food processing and genetic improvement of local pigs. Full article
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