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Effect of faecal soiling on skatole and androstenone occurrence in organic entire male pigs

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Production of entire male pigs could be a future strategy for organic pig production. However, production of entire males leads to increased risk of carcasses with elevated boar taint levels. It is hypothesized that skatole levels in pig meat are affected by faecal soiling and that organic housing facilities can increase the risk of pigs being heavily soiled. Therefore, the overall aim of this study was to investigate if increased pig and pen soiling increases skatole concentration in entire male pigs. In five herds, 1174 organic entire male pigs were reared in four batches across two seasons, summer and winter. Measurements of pig and pen soiling, as well as fat skatole and androstenone concentration and human nose sensory tests of fat odour, were performed. Skatole and androstenone concentrations varied greatly within and between herds with a 10% and 90% percentile for the overall population of 0.02 and 2.25 µg/g for skatole and 0.53 and 4.84 µg/g for androstenone. Human nose positive tests averaged 18.3% with great variation between herds and seasons. Pen soiling had significant effects on pig soiling. Moreover, outdoor pen soiling significantly affected skatole concentration in interactions with herd and season (P<0.001 and P=0.003) and affected human nose positive risk in interaction with herd (P=0.005). Soiling on indoor pen areas did not affect skatole levels and no effect on androstenone was found for any pen area. Soiling of pigs affected both skatole and androstenone levels, with the size of the head and abdomen body areas covered in manure showing significant positive effects on skatole concentration. No effect of density of the manure layer was found on either boar taint measure. Herd significantly affected both skatole and androstenone in fat as well as the human nose positive risk. The human nose test revealed no effect from pig soiling. A large variation in the different boar taint measures was found for both high and low scores of pen and pig soiling, and only a small difference in skatole and androstenone concentrations between the high and low soiling categories was found. Therefore, while increasing the hygiene management could be a strategy for reducing boar taint in production of organic entire male pigs, it should be emphasized that other factors would also need to be considered.
Sider (fra-til)1587-1596
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2015

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