Document Detail

Effects of l-carnitine supplementation to suckling piglets on carcass and meat quality at market age.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23473237     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
In a previous study, carnitine supplementation to piglets during the suckling period resulted in an increased total muscle fibre number at weaning in piglets of low birth weight. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether this effect is maintained until market age and whether this would attenuate the negative consequences of low birth weight on carcass and meat quality. Using a split-plot design with litter as block, sex as whole plot and treatment as subplot, the effects of early-postnatal l-carnitine supplementation on female and castrated male piglets of low birth weight were investigated on a total of 56 German Landrace piglets from 14 litters. From days 7 to 27 of age piglets were orally supplemented once daily with 400 mg of l-carnitine dissolved in 1 ml of water or received an equal volume of water without carnitine. From weaning (day 28) until slaughter (day 166 of age) all pigs were fed standard diets. At weaning, carnitine-supplemented piglets had a twofold increased concentration of free carnitine (P < 0.001) and a lower concentration of non-esterified fatty acids (P < 0.05) in blood plasma indicating that carnitine became bioavailable and increased fatty acid utilization during the period of supplementation. Growth performance was not influenced by treatment in any growth period. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry revealed no differences in body composition between groups in weeks 12, 16 and 20 of age. LW at slaughter, carcass weight, measures of meat yield and fat accretion, as well as body composition by chemical analyses and dissection of primal cuts did not differ between treatments. No differences between control and carnitine-treated pigs in total fibre number (P = 0.85) and fibre cross-sectional area (P = 0.68) in m. semitendinosus (ST) measured at slaughter could be observed. The carnitine group tended to exhibit a smaller proportion of slow-twitch oxidative fibres (P = 0.08), a greater proportion of fast-twitch glycolytic fibres (P = 0.11), and increased specific lactate dehydrogenase activity (P = 0.09) in ST indicating a more glycolytic muscle metabolism. Compared with the controls, a lower pH24 value was observed (P = 0.05) in ST muscle of carnitine-supplemented pigs, which - in castrates only - was associated with an increased drip loss (P < 0.01). Meat quality traits in m. longissimus were not influenced by treatment. In conclusion, our hypothesis that early-postnatal carnitine supplementation to piglets of low birth weight permanently increases myofibre number and improves later carcass and meat quality could not be confirmed by this experiment.
D Lösel; C Rehfeldt
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2013-3-11
Journal Detail:
Title:  Animal : an international journal of animal bioscience     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1751-732X     ISO Abbreviation:  Animal     Publication Date:  2013 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-3-11     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101303270     Medline TA:  Animal     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  1-8     Citation Subset:  -    
Research Unit Muscle Biology and Growth, Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), Wilhelm-Stahl-Allee 2, 18196 Dummerstorf, Germany.
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