High Levels of DDGS Affect Pig Meat Quality

US - Distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) had little effect on loin quality but did decrease belly quality, bacon processing characteristics and fat stability, according to Leick and co-authors. Ractopamine had no negative effects on these characteristics and does not interact with DDGS.
calendar icon 29 July 2010
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C.M. Leick of the University of Illinois and colleagues there and with Cargill Meat Solutions, The Maschhoffs LLC and Elanco Animal Health have published a paper in the Journal of Animal Science on the effects of DDGS and ractopamine (Paylean) on the quality and shelf-life of fresh pork and bacon.

They allotted pigs (n=240) in a 5×2 factorial arrangement with five levels of DDGS: 0, 15, 30, 45 and 60 per cent, and two ractopamine (RAC) levels: 0 and 5mg/kg. Four pigs per pen (two barrows and two gilts) closest to pen mean bodyweight (BW) were used for meat quality evaluation:

  • Loins (n=119) were evaluated for objective colour; moisture and fat; subjective colour, marbling and firmness as well as drip loss.
  • Bellies (n=119) were evaluated for weight, length, width, thickness, objective fat colour, and firmness.
  • Cured bellies were evaluated for pump yield, cook loss, and sliced bacon cook loss.
  • Loin thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) were evaluated on enhanced (salt and phosphate) boneless chops held in modified atmosphere (80 per cent oxygen / 20 per cent carbon dioxide) packages for 0, 7, 14 and 21 days.
  • Bacon TBARS were evaluated on sliced bacon held in vacuum packages for 0, 28, 56, and 84 d.
  • Fat samples were collected from each jowl and belly and evaluated for fatty acid profile and iodine value (IV).

Increasing DDGS decreased subjective marbling (P=0.0134) and firmness (P=0.0235) and increased drip loss (P=0.0046). DDGS did not affect loin pH, subjective or objective colour, percentage moisture or percentage fat (P>0.05).

The RAC decreased subjective colour (P=0.0239), marbling (P=0.0445) and a* (P=0.0355).

Increasing DDGS decreased belly weight (P=0.0155), length (P=0.0008), thickness (P=0.0019) and firmness (P=0.0054); decreased belly fat L* (P=0.0818); and increased belly cook loss (P=0.0890).

RAC did not affect any belly measurements, and there were no DDGS × RAC interactions (P > 0.05).

DDGS did not affect loin TBARS at 0, seven or 14 days. At 21 days, loin TBARS from 30, 45 and 60 per cent DDGS groups were increased compared with 0 and 15 per cent groups (P<0.05).

RAC did not affect (P>0.05) loin TBARS, and there were no (P>0.05) DDGS × RAC interactions.

DDGS and RAC did not affect bacon TBARS (P>0.05).

Increasing DDGS increased belly (P=0.0207) and jowl (P<0.0001) IV, and decreased MUFA:PUFA in belly (P<0.0001) and jowl (P<0.0001) fat. Ratio of SFA:unsaturated fatty acids decreased in jowl (P=0.0002) and belly fat (P=0.2815).

RAC did not affect fatty acid profiles or IV, and there were no DDGS × RAC interactions (P>0.05).

Leick and co-authors concluded that increased DDGS have minimal effects on loin quality but decrease belly quality, bacon processing characteristics and fat stability. RAC did not negatively affect these characteristics and did not interact with DDGS.


Leick C.M., C.L. Puls, M. Ellis, J. Killefer, T.R. Carr, S.M. Scramlin, M.B. England, A.M. Gaines, B.F. Wolter, S.N. Carr and F.K. McKeith. 2010. Effect of distillers dried grains with solubles and ractopamine (Paylean) on quality and shelf-life of fresh pork and bacon. J. Anim. Sci. 2010. 88:2751-2766. doi:10.2527/jas.2009-2472.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.
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