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J Anim Sci. 2013 Nov;91(11):5525-34. doi: 10.2527/jas.2013-6614. Epub 2013 Aug 29.

Relationship between pork quality and characteristics of muscle fibers classified by the distribution of myosin heavy chain isoforms.

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Division of Biotechnology, College of Applied Life Sciences, Jeju National University, Jeju 690-701, Republic of Korea.


A total of six fiber types, including four pure types (type I, IIA, IIX, and IIB) and two hybrid types (type IIAX and IIXB), were classified according to the expression of myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoforms by immunohistochemistry with MHC specific monoclonal antibodies. The comparison of the muscle fiber characteristics and pork quality between pork quality groups (DFD: dark, firm, and dry; PSE: pale, soft, and exudative; RFN: reddish pink, firm, and nonexudative; and RSE: reddish pink, soft, and exudative) classified by muscle pH, drip loss, and lightness was conducted and the relationship of myofiber characteristics to pork quality was investigated. The DFD group had the highest value of IIAX fiber density (P<0.05). The DFD group also showed the greatest fiber relative area of type I, IIA, and IIAX (P<0.05) whereas there were no significant differences in area composition for types I, IIA, and IIAX among the other groups including PSE, RFN, and RSE (P>0.05). The DFD group had the highest cross-sectional area (CSA) in types I, IIA, and IIX among the groups. The increase in density of type IIAX was related with the higher pH and the lower hue and drip loss. An increase in the fiber number composition of hybrid type IIXB increased the lightness and cooking loss and decreased sarcoplasmic protein solubility (SPS). Regarding fiber relative area, pure type I and IIA and hybrid type IIAX were greater in the DFD group and had lower lightness and drip loss. Hybrid type IIAX influences the desirability of the pork due to its association with low lightness and high pH and water-holding capacity (WHC). In contrast, type IIXB was related to poor quality pork, including pale color, low WHC in cooked meat, and low SPS.

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