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Meat Sci. 2014 Jan;96(1):264-9. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2013.07.004. Epub 2013 Jul 13.

Relationship between gilt behavior and meat quality using principal component analysis.

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Departament de Producció Animal, Universitat de Lleida, 191 Rovira Roure, 25198 Lleida, Spain.


Pig on-farm behavior has important repercussions on pig welfare and performance, but generally its relationship with meat quality is not well understood. We used principal component analysis to determine the relationship between meat quality traits, feeding patterns, scale activity, and number of conflict-avoidance interactions. The first principal component indicated that gilts with greater daily feed intake stayed longer in the feeder and their meat had increased intramuscular fat (IMF), was lighter in color, and, in the second principal component, had better juiciness, tenderness, chewiness, and flavor. Meat from gilts with lower scale activity scores appeared to have more IMF but greater drip losses (DL). The third principal component suggested that dominant gilts could gain priority access to the feeder, eating more and growing fatter. In conclusion, except for the slight associations with IMF and DL, gilt scale activity and conflict-avoidance behaviors were not good indicators of final meat quality attributes.


Activity scores; Conflict–avoidance; Intramuscular fat; Pork; Tenderness; Water-holding capacity

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