Seaweed in Pigs' Diet Extends Pork Shelf-Life

3 September 2012, at 8:27am

IRELAND - Researchers based in Cork and Dublin have found that feeding pigs a seaweed extract has the potential to reduce oxidation in pork steaks.

In the journal, Meat Science, N.C. Moroney of University College Cork and co-authors there and at University College Dublin report an experiment in which they used a seaweed extract containing laminarin (L) and fucoidan (F) (L/F) from brown seaweed in spray-dried (L/F-SD) and wet (L/F-WS) forms.

The effect of supplementation of pig diets with L/F-SD and L/F-WS (L, 500mg per kg feed; F, 420mg per kg feed) for 21 days pre-slaughter, on quality indices of fresh M. longissimus dorsi (LD) steaks was examined.

Susceptibility of porcine liver, heart, kidney and lung tissue homogenates to iron-induced (1mM iron sulphate) lipid oxidation was also investigated.

Dietary supplementation with L/F did not increase plasma total antioxidant status (TAS).

In LD steaks stored in modified atmosphere packs (80 per cent oxygen:20 per cent carbon dioxide; MAP) for up to 15 days at 4°C, muscle pH, surface colour (CIE L* lightness, a* redness and b* yellowness values) and microbiology (psychrotrophic and mesophilic counts, log colony-formaing units (CFU) per gramme of pork) were unaffected by dietary L/F.

In general, levels of lipid oxidation (TBARS, mg MDA (malondialdehyde per kg pork) followed the order: C > LF-SD > L/F-WS. A statistically significant reduction in lipid oxidation (P<0.05) was observed in LD steaks from 75 per cent of pigs (n=6) fed with L/F-WS compared to controls.

Iron-induced lipid oxidation increased in liver, heart, kidney and lung tissue homogenates over the 24-hour storage period and dietary L/F-WS reduced lipid oxidation to the greatest extent in liver tissue homogenates.

Moroney and co-authors concluded the results demonstrate potential for the incorporation of marine-derived bioactive antioxidant components into muscle foods via the animal's diet.


Moroney N.C. , M.N. O'Grady, J.V. O'Doherty, J.P. Kerry 2012. Addition of seaweed (Laminaria digitata) extracts containing laminarin and fucoidan to porcine diets: Influence on the quality and shelf-life of fresh pork. Meat Science, 92(4):423-429. doi:10.1016/j.meatsci.2012.05.005

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