MLC says boars more tender

22 May 1998

MLC says boars more tender

BOARS are more efficient and their meat tastier than gilts, a newly completed study at MLC Stotfold Development unit has found.

It has shown that boars have a tenderness advantage over gilts, which is most marked at heavier weights.

MLC pig scientist Pinder Gill said pork tenderness was associated with natural muscle enzymes which breakdown its structure. It is the enzyme calpain which is linked with better tenderness. But its activity is inhibited by calpastatin, another enzyme. Stotfold trials have shown that boars have a higher level of calpain than gilts, and gilts higher calpastatin levels than boars. "This makes boar meat slightly more tender than that of gilts," he said.

The difference in tenderness between boars and gilts is most marked at heavier weights because boars grow more quickly than gilts at heavier weights; 1000g a day compared with 750g a day. "Faster growing animals have more calpain and less calpastatin, and, therefore, produce meat of a superior eating quality in terms of tenderness."

There was also no difference in taint levels between boars slaughtered at lighter and heavier weights.

"Taking boars to heavier weights does not represent a concern in terms of taint and at heavier weights the tenderness difference over gilts is even greater. There is also the economic advantage of faster growth," said Dr Gill.

He also pointed out that boars fed the same level of lysine as gilts grew faster, suggesting they were more efficient.

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