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In vivo body composition in autochthonous and conventional pig breeding groups by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and magnetic resonance imaging under special consideration of Cerdo Ibérico

  • P. V. Kremer (a1), I. Fernández-Fígares (a2), M. Förster (a1) (a3) and A. M. Scholz (a1)


The improvement of carcass quality is one of the main breeding goals in pig production. To select appropriate breeding animals, it is of major concern to exactly and reliably analyze the body composition in vivo. Therefore, the objective of the study was to examine whether the combination of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers the opportunity to reliably analyze quantitative and qualitative body composition characteristics of different pig breeding groups in vivo. In this study, a total of 77 pigs were studied by DXA and MRI at an average age of 154 days. The pigs originated from different autochthonous or conventional breeds or crossbreeds and were grouped into six breed types: Cerdo Ibérico (Ib); Duroc × Ib (Du_Ib); White Sow Lines (WSL, including German Landrace and German Large White); Hampshire/Pietrain (Pi_Ha, including Hampshire, Pietrain × Hampshire (PiHa) and Pietrain × PiHa); Pietrain/Duroc (Pi_Du, including Pietrain × Duroc (PiDu) and Pietrain × PiDu); crossbred WSL (PiDu_WSL, including Pietrain × WSL and PiDu × WSL). A whole-body scan was performed by DXA with a GE Lunar DPX-IQ in order to measure the amount and percentage of fat tissue (FM; %FM), lean tissue (LM; %LM) and bone mineral, whereas a Siemens Magnetom Open with a large body coil was used for MRI in the thorax region between 13th and 14th vertebrae in order to measure the area of the loin (LA) and the above back fat area (FA) of both body sides. A GLM procedure using SAS 9.2 was used to analyze the data. As expected, the native breed Ib followed by Du_Ib crossbreeds showed the highest %FM (27.2%, 25.0%) combined with the smallest LA (46.2 cm2, 73.6 cm2), whereas Ib had the lowest BW at an average age of 154 days. Pigs with Pi_Ha origin presented the least %FM (12.4%) and largest LA (99.5 cm2). The WSL and PiDu_WSL showed an intermediate body composition. Therefore, it could be concluded that DXA and MRI and especially their combination are very suitable methods to reliably identify differences in body composition and carcass traits among different pig lines in vivo.


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