Growth, carcass, fiber type, and meat quality characteristics in Large White pigs with different live weights

Y. M. Choi, K. W. Nam, J. H. Choe, Y. C. Ryu, M. P. Wick, K. Lee, B. C. Kim

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22 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to compare the growth, carcass, histochemical, and meat quality characteristics in Large White pig groups that were categorized by live weight (Heavy and Light) and type I fiber percentage (High and Low), a procedure which resulted in four groups (Heavy-High, Heavy-Low, Light-High, and Light-Low). As expected, the Heavy group showed heavier live weight (114 vs. 94.7kg, P<0.001) and larger loin eye area (53.3 vs. 47.8cm2, P<0.001), as well as, higher total number (1,223,000 vs. 1,140,000, P<0.05) and greater mean value cross-sectional area (CSA; 4031 vs. 3798μm2 P<0.05) of muscle fibers than the Light group. However, there were no significant differences in start and finish days among the groups (P>0.05). Heavier pigs harboring a higher percentage of type I fibers (HH) exhibited a similar mean CSA (3894 vs. 4101μm2) and total number (1,249,000 vs. 1,198,000) of muscle fibers, even though these pigs had a greater CSA of type I fibers (3181 vs. 2719μm2, P<0.05) and a smaller CSA of type IIB fibers (4048 vs. 4457μm2, P<0.05) compared to heavier pigs harboring a lower percentage of fiber type I (HL). Both the HL and Light-Low groups exhibited a rapid decline of muscle pH at the early postmortem period (5.90 and 5.85 vs. 6.08, P<0.05), paler surfaces (43.07 and 43.55 vs. 40.73, P<0.05), and higher degrees of fluid loss by exudation (6.26 and 6.39 vs. 4.22%, P<0.05) compared to the HH group due to their muscle fiber type composition. Thus, the HH pigs showed better meat quality characteristics without significant differences in growth and carcass performance compared to the HL pigs. Therefore, selection for increased live weight at the same age and muscle fiber characteristics, especially the increased type I fiber CSA and proportion, is one of the relevant indicators to improve and control meat quality without reducing the growth and carcass performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalLivestock Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea . The authors thank the Korea University Food Safety Center for use of their equipment and facilities.


  • Carcass performance
  • Growth performance
  • Large White pig
  • Meat quality
  • Muscle fiber characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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