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Muscle anserine content is associated with pork meat quality and carnosine synthase gene expression

Palin, M.F., D’Astous-Pagé, J., Blouin, R., Cliche, S., Fortin, F., Sullivan, B. and Gariépy, C. (2016). Muscle anserine content is associated with pork meat quality and carnosine synthase gene expression. In Energy and protein metabolism and nutrition (EAAP publication No. 137). Book of the 5th EAAP International Symposium on Energy and Protein Metabolism and Nutrition (ISEP). p. 241-242. Editors: J. Skomial and H. Lapierre. Wageningen Academic Publishers. ISBN: 978-90-8686-286-3 DOI:


Pork meat quality may be improved by increasing muscle carnosine content (β-alanyl-L-histidine), yet no information is available on the potential of anserine (β-alanyl-1-methyl-L-histidine) in improving meat quality. Study objectives were: 1) to assess anserine content in the longissimus muscle of 85 Duroc (DD), 92 Landrace (LL) and 105 Yorkshire (YY) pigs, 2) to look for associations between anserine content and meat quality traits 3) to study the expression of genes related with carnosine and anserine metabolism. Pigs were slaughtered at 120 kg and muscle samples collected immediately. Meat quality measurements were collected 24h post mortem. Muscle anserine content was quantified by HPLC. Meat quality parameters included water holding capacity, color, shear force and pH 24h. The mRNA abundance of selected genes was measured by qPCR assays. There was a breed effect for muscle anserine content with the highest values being observed in YY pigs. For each breed, pigs were grouped in 3 categories based on their anserine content (Low, Medium and High). In DD pigs, carnosine synthase (CARNS1) mRNA abundance was lower in the High anserine group than in the Low and Medium groups. DD and LL pigs with High anserine content had higher pH 24h and lower color L* values than pigs in the Low group. DD pigs from the High group had lower drip loss and freezing loss compared with the Low and Medium groups. This study shows that high muscle anserine content is associated with improved pork meat quality and lower muscle CARNS1 mRNA abundance.

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