Meat and ham quality of Italian heavy pigs subjected to different illumination regimes

Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. Nov-Dec 2012;125(11-12):463-8.


In order to attain a good level of welfare pigs require a sufficient environmental illumination.Therefore minimum levels for light duration and light intensity are set up by the European legislation.Two independent and separate trials were aimed to determine whether an increase above the minimum mandatory levels of lighting duration (14 vs. 8 hours/day at 70 lux: trial A) or of light intensity (80 vs. 40 lux over a 12-hour lighting period: trial B) could modify the carcass traits and meat and cured hams quality of Italian heavy pigs (body weight at slaughtering of about 160 kg). Slaughtering parameters, fresh meat quality and fatty acid composition of raw thighs and cured hams were assessed. Pigs receiving the longer photoperiod showed a tendency (P < 0.1) toward a higher slaughtering body weight and a higher saturation degree (P < 0.01) of subcutaneous fat of the raw thighs, while cured hams deriving from pigs subjected to the higher illumination intensity showed a higher (P < 0.05) relative content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Our results indicate that, within a moderate range of light intensity and given an appropriate dark period for animal rest, neither a prolonged photoperiod nor a higher light intensity caused any negative effect on the carcass traits, meat or quality of long-cured hams.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / radiation effects*
  • Housing, Animal
  • Lighting*
  • Meat / standards*
  • Photoperiod
  • Sus scrofa*