PubMed 23031527

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Title: Association of halothane sensitivity with growth and meat quality in pigs.

Authors: R O Bates, M E Doumit, N E Raney, E E Helman, C W Ernst

Journal, date & volume: Animal, 2012 Sep , 6, 1537-42

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Previous reports have indicated that a proportion of pigs, homozygous normal for the skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor gene (RYR1), was halothane sensitive, and this was associated with poor meat quality when pigs were handled aggressively. This study was conducted to evaluate halothane sensitivity in RYR1-normal pigs, managed under simulated commercial conditions, to ascertain the association of halothane sensitivity with growth rate and meat quality. A total of 363 pigs across four farrowing groups, from seven Landrace sires and 38 Yorkshire-Landrace F1 dams, were tested at 8 weeks of age for halothane sensitivity using a closed system that delivered 5% halothane at 2 l/min for 3 (group 1) or 2 (groups 2 to 4) min. After 1 min, limb rigidity, limb tremors and abdominal discoloration were evaluated on a binomial scale with 0 indicating no reaction and 1 indicating reaction. Testing was repeated 2 days later. At 10 weeks of age, pigs were moved to finishing pens and not moved again until marketing. Within farrowing group, pigs were harvested in one of two groups, and at marketing were moved a distance of 91 m, weighed, tattooed, loaded and transported a distance of 550 km to a commercial harvest plant. After overnight rest, pigs were harvested and the pH of the loin muscle was measured at 45 min (pH45) after stunning. After an 18-h chill, loin muscle pH (pHu), International Commission on Illumination (CIE) L*, a*, b*, color (1 to 6) and marbling (1 to 10) scores and fluid loss percent were collected. Generalized linear mixed models were used to estimate repeatabilities for response to halothane challenge. Repeatabilities for limb rigidity for the front right and left legs were 0.24 and 0.31, respectively, whereas rear right and left leg repeatabilities were 0.19 and 0.17, respectively. Repeatabilities for front right and left leg tremors were 0.16 and 0.20, respectively. Growth rate was not influenced by any measure of halothane sensitivity. Carcasses from pigs exhibiting limb rigidity tended to have lower pH45 (5.88 v. 5.97; P = 0.06), similar pHu (5.47 v. 5.49; P = 0.32), less pH decline from 45 min to 18 h (-0.40 v. -0.50; P = 0.04) and a tendency for greater fluid loss percent (5.01 v. 4.55; P = 0.08) than carcasses from pigs that did not exhibit limb rigidity during halothane challenge. A proportion of pigs normal for RYR1 did exhibit limb rigidity during halothane gas challenge, and subsequently tended to have lower 45 min pH and greater longissimus muscle fluid loss post harvest.