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Boar taint and meat quality matters

Danish researchers tackle alternatives to castration to eliminate ‘boar taint’ and keep looking for tastier pork products.

The Danish Pig Research Centre, in conjunction with the Department of Food Science at Copenhagen University, is attempting to locate the genes responsible for ‘boar taint’. The three year project will use genome selection to find ways to reduce the number of pigs which develop the odour as well as to create tools that can predict the risk of taint.

In addition to identifying the genetic markers for ‘boar taint’ in Landrace, Yorkshire and Duroc, the relationship between ‘boar taint’ and production traits and fertility in boars will be mapped. It is important that this is clarified before including the attributes in selection for breeding.

The debate about castration of male piglets has been gathering momentum in EU circles recently and the Danish pig industry were signatories to the ‘European Declaration on Alternatives to Surgical Castration of Pigs’, which involves a commitment to ending castration by January 2018. However, there remains much to do in finding alternatives to castration in minimising the risk of ‘boar taint’ entering the food chain and gaining acceptance of any new approaches within the international pig meat trade.

Danish researchers will shortly be publishing some exciting work in the efforts to find tastier and more tender pork. Their research onvolved testing meat from crossing traditional Danish breeds – Duroc and Hampshire/Yorkshire with more exotic bres such as the the Iberian and Hungarian Mangalitza pig.

More details of their research can be found on the Aarhus University website.

Hungarian Manglaitza
Iberian Pigs