Tool to measure intramuscular fat could revolutionize pork industry

IOWA - A central Iowa company hopes their product can make pork even tastier tomorrow than it is today.

Biotronics, Inc. recently introduced the BioSoft 9 Toolbox for Swine, an ultrasound image capturing and interpretation system. Developers say the software program is the first of its kind to accurately predict the percentage of intramuscular fat, or marbling, in live pigs.

In the past 15-20 years, hog farmers have done a great job of breeding pigs that are lean and muscular. One of the tools they've used is ultrasound technology that has allowed them to measure backfat in live animals and select sires that stay lean.

But reducing backfat has also led to less marbling, less intramuscular fat. More marbling is needed to keep pork juicy and tasty.

“The industry is interested in bringing some of that intramuscular fat back. You don't need high levels, but for consumer acceptability you need to have at least 2.5 percent intramuscular fat in the tissue,“ said Doyle Wilson, president of Biotronics.

Few breeds today have that level of intramuscular fat tissue, said Wilson. The Berkshire and Duroc breeds come the nearest.

Wilson said that using ultrasound technology to measure intramuscular fat will likely be cheaper and easier than conducting carcass tests.

“We just scan the breeding stock when they are at a young age - about market weight - and select those that have higher levels of intramuscular fat to produce the next generation of pigs,“ said Wilson.

Source: The Prairie Star
calendar icon 16 February 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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