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Muscle characteristics and meat quality traits are affected by divergent selection on residual feed intake in pigs

Abstract : Residual feed intake (RFI) is defined as the difference between the observed feed intake and that expected based on requirements for maintenance and production. A divergent selection was conducted during 4 generations in Large White male pigs to produce low and high RFI lines. The present study aims at determining the influence of this selection on biochemical and histological traits of skeletal muscle, and relating these changes to correlated effects on growth, carcass composition, and meat quality traits. At 8 d preslaughter, biopsies from the LM were taken in the fed state on 14 females from each RFI line fed ad libitum. Animals were slaughtered at 107.8 ± 8.0 kg of BW without any previous fasting. Samples of LM, semimembranosus (SM), biceps femoris (BFM), and rhomboideus muscles were taken at both 30 min and 24 h postmortem. Myofiber typing was only assessed in LM. Low RFI pigs ("efficient") had leaner carcasses with greater muscle content (P < 0.001), less backfat thickness (P < 0.001), and less intramuscular fat content in all 4 muscles (P < 0.01 to P = 0.04). Their greater muscle content was associated with hypertrophy of all fast-twitch fibers. Glycogen content in all glycolytic muscles (i.e., LM, SM and BFM), was greater in low than high RFI pigs. The greater accumulation of glycogen in LM of low RFI pigs was specifically located in the fast-twitch glycolytic IIBW fibers, which correspond to fibers containing IIb, IIb + IIx, or IIx myosin heavy chains. The difference in muscle glycogen content between RFI line pigs was more significant in the living animals (P = 0.0003) than at 30 min postmortem (P = 0.08). This was associated with a decreased ultimate pH (P = 0.001), and greater lightness of color (P = 0.002) and drip loss (P = 0.04) in LM of low than high RFI line pigs, suggesting that selection for reduced RFI may impair some meat quality traits, such as water-holding capacity. Pigs from the low RFI line exhibited a greater (P = 0.02) percentage of IIBW fibers in LM and tended (P < 0.10) to have less lipid β-oxidative capacity in LM, SM, and BFM. In contrast, no difference (P > 0.10) between lines was found for citrate synthase and lactate dehydrogenase activities, mitochondrial activity, and expression of genes coding for uncoupling proteins 2 and 3. Differences between RFI pigs in plasma leptin, cortisol, and thyroid hormone concentrations are presented and discussed. In conclusion, selection for low RFI influenced muscle properties in a way favoring muscle mass, but likely impairing meat quality.
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Louis Lefaucheur, Bénédicte Lebret, Patrick Ecolan, Isabelle Louveau, Marie Damon, et al.. Muscle characteristics and meat quality traits are affected by divergent selection on residual feed intake in pigs. Journal of Animal Science, American Society of Animal Science, 2011, 89 (4), pp.996-1010. ⟨10.2527/jas.2010-3493⟩. ⟨hal-01000532⟩



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