Improving vitamin D content in pork meat by UVB biofortification

Meat Sci. 2023 May:199:109115. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2023.109115. Epub 2023 Jan 14.


Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent worldwide and identification of alternative food-based strategies are urgently warranted. In two studies, 12-week old crossbred pigs (Duroc x (Large White x Landrace)) were exposed daily to narrowband UVB radiation for ∼10 weeks or control (no UVB exposure) until slaughter. In Study 1 (n = 48), pigs were exposed to UVB for 2 min and in Study 2 (n = 20), this duration was tripled to 6 min. All pigs were fed the maximum permitted 2000 IU vitamin D3/kg feed. Loin meat was cooked prior to vitamin D LC-MS/MS analysis. In Study 1, pork loin vitamin D3 did not differ between groups. Study 2 provided longer UVB exposure time and resulted in significantly higher loin vitamin D3 (11.97 vs. 6.03 μg/kg), 25(OH)D3 (2.09 vs. 1.65 μg/kg) and total vitamin D activity (22.88 vs. 14.50 μg/kg) concentrations, compared to control (P < 0.05). Pigs remained healthy during both studies and developed no signs of erythema. Biofortification by UVB radiation provides an effective strategy to further safely increase the naturally occurring vitamin D content of pork loin, alongside feed supplementation.

Keywords: 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D); Cholecalciferol; Feed supplementation; Pigs; Pork; UV radiation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biofortification
  • Cholecalciferol / analysis
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Meat / analysis
  • Pork Meat* / analysis
  • Red Meat* / analysis
  • Swine
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Vitamin D / analysis
  • Vitamins / analysis


  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamins
  • Cholecalciferol