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Effect of Chromium in Pig Feed on Pork Quality

23 May 2014

Feeding chromium to fattening pigs had positive effects on growth, carcase characteristics and pork quality, and had benefits for lipid metabolism, according to a new Chinese work.

In a paper published in Livestock Science, M.Q. Wang of Zhejiang University in China and co-authors describe their study to evaluate the effects of chromium-loaded chitosan nanoparticles (Cr-CNP) on growth, carcass characteristics, pork quality and lipid metabolism in finishing pigs.

A total of 160 crossbred barrows with an average initial bodyweight of 66.10±1.01kg were randomly allotted to four dietary treatments, with four pens per treatments and 10 pigs per pen.

Pigs were fed the basal diet supplemented with 0, 100, 200 or 400μg per kg of chromium from Cr-CNP. All pigs were given free access to feed and water for 35 days.

Two pigs from each pen were selected to collect serum samples and slaughtered to measure carcass characteristics and pork quality and collect adipose tissue samples.

The results showed that gain to feed ratio of pigs fed supplemental chromium from Cr-CNP increased (P<0.05) compared with those fed the control diet.

Dietary Cr-CNP increased the carcass lean ratio (P<0.01) and longissimus muscle area (P<0.05), decreased carcass fat ratio (P<0.001) and backfat thickness (P<0.01) linearly and quadratically. The 24-hour drip loss was decreased (P<0.01) linearly and quadratically, while pH value 45 minutes after slaughter and Hunter L, a, b values in longissimus muscle were unaffected with the dietary supplementation of Cr-CNP.

Supplemental chromium from Cr-CNP increased serum free fatty acids (linear and quadratic, P<0.001), lipase activity (linear and quadratic, P<0.01), and serum insulin-like growth factor I (quadratic, P<0.01), while decreasing serum insulin (linear, P<0.001).

Dietary supplementation of Cr-CNP decreased activities of fatty acid synthase (linear and quadratic, P<0.01) and malate dehydrogenase (linear, P<0.01), while increased the activity of hormone-sensitive lipase (linear and quadratic, P<0.05) in subcutaneous adipose tissue.

Dietary supplementation of chromium as Cr-CNP had beneficial effects on growth, carcass characteristics and pork quality, and positively affected lipid catabolism in finishing pigs, concluded Wang and co-authors.


Wang M.Q., C. Wang, Y.J. Du, H. Li, W.J. Tao, S.S. Ye, Y.D. He and S.Y. Chen. 2014. Effects of chromium-loaded chitosan nanoparticles on growth, carcass characteristics, pork quality, and lipid metabolism in finishing pigs. Livestock Science. 161:123-129.

Further Reading

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May 2014

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