Interrelationship of DFD and PSE in Pigs

Not only do certain handling situations tend to trigger PSE, but the genetic makeup of a pig may predispose the animal to PSE, and some European breeds are especially susceptible (83,84). In some particularly stress-susceptible animals, there is sudden death, especially during mating. Animals may be tested using exposure to the gaseous anesthetic halothane. Susceptible animals respond by a rise in temperature, which, if not checked, can lead to death (malignant hyperthermia) (see Ref. 104).

In Europe, studies have shown that for pigs there is a complex relationship between PSE and DFD (89). These studies indicated that feeding prior to short transport gives high PSE and low DFD. Fighting lowers the PSE incidence but raises DFD. Short transport times gives high PSE and reduced DFD, but as the transport distance lengthens, the PSE becomes less and the DFD becomes greater. The contribution of the nervous system to PSE is very significant, and even though the effects can be controlled by drugs (105), such treatment is not accepted for food animals. Under ideal conditions, the two extremes in meat appearance, PSE and DFD, can be measured by various electronic grading probes.

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