sealPurdue News

September 1997

Researcher aims to get better-tasting pork from lean hogs

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- If the trend toward leaner pork continues, the meat's taste and tenderness could suffer, says Purdue University animal scientist Allan Schinckel. To prevent the problem, Schinckel is figuring out how hogs deposit fat in their muscles. He reported his work last month at the national meeting of the American Society of Animal Science.

"The swine industry does not have a serious problem, yet," Schinckel says. "However, if payment and selection for extreme leanness continues, the percent of intramuscular fat will decline to the point that the pork will become much drier and tougher, especially when overcooked."

As he has searched for ways keep lean pork tender and juicy, Schinckel has studied fat deposition in genetic lines of average-lean and very lean pigs. He fed low-fat diets to half of the pigs from each group, high-fat diets to the other half. The average-lean pigs on high-fat diets deposited more fat in their muscles, and meat from them was more marbled. Very lean pigs, on the other hand, did not deposit more intramuscular fat -- no matter how much fat they were fed.

Contact: Schinckel, (765) 494-4836; e-mail,

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