PSVII-27 - Early plasma androstenone concentrations may indicate extent of boar taint at slaughter
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Poster Sessions
Castration is a highly invasive procedure performed on male pigs within the first few days after birth. Castration reduces aggressive and sexual behaviours and, more importantly, eliminates the incidence of a meat quality issue called boar taint. Androstenone, one of the boar taint causing compounds, is a steroid hormone produced during puberty in boars, and also during a spike of testicular steroidogenesis at 21 days of age. This peak is thought to mature the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis; however, 21-day steroid concentrations have not previously been linked to the extent of boar taint development at slaughter. The objective of this research is to determine if androstenone concentrations at 21 days of age can predict boar taint development at slaughter. Crossbred [(YorkshireXLandrace)XDuroc] boars (n = 36) were raised in pens of two females and two males to average market slaughter weight. Blood was taken at 21 days and slaughter, backfat was collected at slaughter. Plasma and fat androstenone concentrations were measured by androstenone-specific ELISA. Data was analyzed using Pearson correlation and ANOVA. Boars >120kg at slaughter showed positive correlation (R=0.54, P =.007) between 21-day plasma androstenone and fat androstenone concentrations at slaughter, and tended to correlate (R=0.40, P =.056) between 21-day plasma androstenone and plasma androstenone concentrations at slaughter. Boars yet to reach 120kg by slaughter did not show correlation (R=0.2, P = .2) between 21-day plasma androstenone and slaughter androstenone concentrations. There was no correlation between age and weight at slaughter, and plasma and fat androstenone concentrations were not different (P >.05) between groups above and below 120kg at slaughter. These results suggest that 21-day plasma androstenone concentrations may be indicative of androstenone accumulation in the fat and plasma if pigs are over 120kg at slaughter. This can aid with identifying boars at risk of developing boar taint early so that solutions such as immunocastration can be implemented.