Evaluating pig performance, carcass merit and processed pork quality when chestnuts and acorns are fed to Duroc-influenced pig genetics during late finishing
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The objective of this study was to determine effects of feeding chestnuts and acorns on growth performance, carcass quality and further processed products of Duroc/Duroc crossbred finishing barrows. Barrows (n = 30) were individually housed in pens, blocked by body weight and randomly assigned to one of three treatments: control (n = 10), inclusion of acorns at 15% of the diet (n = 7), inclusion of chestnuts at 15% of the diet (n = 13). Pigs were fed ad libitum for 28 d prior to harvest. Feed refusal and individual pig weights were collected every 7 d to determine growth performance. Following harvest, carcass quality was determined by objective color, fat composition and marbling scores. Fat samples were removed from four fat depots (backfat, seam, jowl, kidney and pelvic) and analyzed for fatty acid composition. Sample chops were analyzed for fatty acid composition, moisture and fat content. Bellies were processed into bacon slabs and analyzed for slice quality, fatty acid composition, moisture and fat content. Carcass characteristics, particle size and bacon quality were analyzed using GLM procedure of SAS. Growth performance and fatty acid composition were analyzed using MIXED procedure of SAS. Significance was determined at P-value < 0.05. Dietary treatments did not impact (P > 0.05) growth performance, carcass characteristics or carcass quality. Moreover, feeding acorns tended to similar concentrations (P = 0.079) of oleic acid (18:1n9c) and linoleic acid (18:2n6c) when compared to the control diet. However, feeding diets containing chestnuts tended to greater proportions (P = 0.079) of oleic acid and lower proportions (P = 0.079) of linoleic acid when compared to the control and acorn treatments. Acorns tended to increase (P < 0.0001) the total concentration of omega-6 fatty acids (n-6) when compared to chestnut diets, but no differences (P > 0.05) were observed between acorn and control diets. Inclusion of acorns and chestnuts did not negatively impact carcass characteristics, carcass quality or bacon quality, nevertheless, including acorns and chestnuts tended to alter oleic acid (18:1n9c), linoleic acid (18:2n6c) and total n-6 fatty acids.