Longissimus lumborum muscles from high fat-deposing Casertana and lean meat Large White pigs were assayed for meat quality parameters, including early and ultimate post mortem pH, water holding capacity and Minolta L*a*b*values. These parameters were correlated to results from differential proteomic and targeted metabolomic analyses. Higher levels of glycolytic enzymes and lactate accumulation were related to slow pH drop in Casertana pigs, albeit not to rapid pH lowering in LW counterparts. On the other hand, the individuation of pyruvate kinaseM1 and tropomyosin levels in LW were related to water holding capacity and Minolta values at 24h after slaughter. Bioinformatic analyses strengthened the correlation between over-expression of structural proteins in LW and more accentuated growth aptitude in this breed. Conversely, enzymes taking part into branching glycolytic reactions, such as glycerol 3-phosphate and creatine kinase M, were related to accentuated lipogenesis and slower albeit prolonged glycolytic rate in Casertana, respectively. Breed-specific differences at the protein level were not only related to growth performances and fat accumulation tendency in vivo, but they also affected post mortem performances through a direct influence on the forcedly anaerobic behavior of pig muscles after slaughter.
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