Effects of gender and diet on back fat and loin area ultrasound measurements during the growth and final stage of fattening in Iberian pigs
Abstract. Reared in extensive parcels, 50 castrated or spayed Iberian pigs were fattened with conventional or high-oleic-concentrate diets to evaluate the effect of diet and sex on the measurements of the loin area depth, back fat thickness and its layers during the last 6 months before slaughter at eight time points in two anatomical locations by serial scans. The scan was the factor that had the greatest influence, followed by sex and diet. Back fat thickness at 10th rib level was higher than at 14th rib level. The thickness of the outer, middle and inner layers progressively increased over the study period. Throughout the experimental period, the differences between two successive scans of the M. longissimus area did not differ significantly, obtaining the lowest value at the third scan and the highest at the fifth scan. The ultrasound back fat depth was affected by sex, being greater in females and in animals with a high-oleic diet. Positive significant correlations were observed for measurements assessed. The R2 values for the regression equations to estimate M. longissimus area were lower than the values found for the prediction of fat measurements, and they differed between sex and diet. The relative back fat growth was higher than M. longissimus area, not permitting the establishment of a similar growth pattern for fat and muscle. The sex and diet was taken into account in the predictive models. The subcutaneous adipose layers in Iberian pigs grow at different rates during the last 6 months before slaughter; with the ultrasound serial scan, it is possible to show these changes. The change in diet and the sex affect the adipose tissue development, being more noticeable in the middle layer of back fat at 10th rib level and the inner layer at 14th rib level. However, the sex and the use of an enriched oleic acid diet do not affect to loin development. As the middle layer of back fat shows more growth, this layer could be the best to be included in predictive models. The middle layer of back fat could also be good to be included in predictive models. Back fat thickness at the eighth scan can be predicted with moderate accuracy from corresponding measurements taken 30 days earlier and with less accuracy as the interval between measurements increases.