The novel use of “point of care” devices to evaluate transport duration on selected pork quality parameters
Point-of-care (POC) devices were used to measure plasma metabolic substrates in pigs subjected to stressful conditions. These were then related to the meat pH, drip loss and carcass temperature. Forty Large White x Landrace pigs (20 females and 20 males) weighing approximately 67 ± 6.5 kg were used in the study. Twenty of the pigs were subjected to a stressful regimen for two hours and the other 20 pigs were transported for 15 minutes from their pens directly to the abattoir. Salivary cortisol, plasma glucose, triglycerides and lactate concentrations were determined before and after transportation to the abattoir and carcass temperature, pH and drip loss were measured after slaughter. There were no differences in the lactate, cortisol, pH and triglycerides measurements from the pigs of different sexes. Female pigs had higher carcass temperature and lower glucose levels than male pigs. Regression analysis showed that back fat and lactate accounted for 99% of variation in the pH24h of pigs transported over a short duration while lactate was responsible for only 16% of the variation in pigs transported over the long duration. The difference in lactate accounted for 78% of variation in the carcass temperature at 45 minutes for pigs transported over the short duration while in the long duration group, the weight was responsible for 81% of the variation. In conclusion, POC devices measured differences in lactate concentrations in pigs transported over different durations and relationships between the lactate and the carcass pH, carcass temperature and drip loss was determined.
Keywords: Stress, long and short duration, animal welfare