Comparison of Entire Male and Immunocastrated Pigs for Dry-Cured Ham Production Under Two Salting Regimes

Meat Sci. 2016 Jan;111:27-37. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2015.08.010. Epub 2015 Aug 20.


Due to the initiative to stop piglet castration, meat from entire male pigs is expected to take important share on the European market which can affect dry-cured ham industry. In the present study, hams of entire males (EM) and immunocastrates (IC) were submitted to dry-curing process. Sex category and salting regime were evaluated using standard (18 days; HS) and shortened salting (6 days; LS). At the end of processing, compared to HS, LS hams had lower (40%) salt content, were more proteolysed, were less salty, and had softer texture and different volatile profile. Sex effect was less evident; still, hams from EM exhibited higher processing losses and salt intake, and were drier, less marbled, harder, and more intensively coloured than IC hams. The panellists perceived higher off-flavours in hams with high boar taint compounds (correlation 0.67 and 0.53 for skatole and androstenone, respectively). The effect of sex category on volatile profile was negligible.

Keywords: Dry-cured ham quality; Entire male pigs; Salt reduction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Contraception, Immunologic / adverse effects
  • Contraception, Immunologic / veterinary*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Dietary Fats / analysis
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control
  • Food Preservation*
  • Food Quality*
  • Food, Preserved / analysis*
  • Hardness
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / growth & development
  • Muscle, Skeletal / immunology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Pigments, Biological / analysis
  • Pigments, Biological / biosynthesis
  • Proteolysis
  • Sensation
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / analysis
  • Sus scrofa / growth & development
  • Sus scrofa / immunology
  • Sus scrofa / metabolism*
  • Taste
  • Vaccines, Contraceptive
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis
  • Water / analysis


  • Dietary Fats
  • Pigments, Biological
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Vaccines, Contraceptive
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Water