Meat selenium content can be an important nutritive criterion.
A study, designed to measure the effect of antioxidants supplementation on meat quality, was performed in Chile. The trial involved some 5,000 pigs, divided between four groups (Control, vitamin E, Alkosel R397, Alkosel R397+ vitamin E), from day 70 to slaughter. Results indicated Alkosel R397 supplementation led to a 273 percent increase in meat selenium content.
A large-scale nursery trial involved 45,800 piglets (seven weeks in nursery and 12 weeks in grower/finisher). While the selenium form had no effect on the piglets' average weight gain, feed conversion rate was improved by -5.5 percent with Alkosel R397, compared with selenite, resulting in extra revenue for the farmer (+EUR0.36/piglet).
When looking at meat oxidation, Alkosel R397 supplementation, alone or with 200 milligrams/kilogram of vitamin E, gave the best results, compared with sodium selenite, reducing meat oxidation rate by close to 30 percent. This is likely to result in longer shelf life.
Another smaller-scale trial, performed in Belgium, revealed a 65 percent decrease in the meat oxidation rate with Alkosel R397 supplementation, compared with selenite.
A French trial, performed with Bayonne Ham producers, was conducted to assess the effect of Alkosel R397 supplementation on ham quality and selenium content, compared with selenite.
The investigators concluded that Alkosel R397 supplementation improved matured ham selenium content (over 100 percent increase), as well as the red colour of lean ham, an important quality criterion in the label charter.
The mature ham fat layer was also significantly reduced, while the ham physico-chemical (such as humidity, fat content, fatty acids profile and protein content) and sensitive characteristics were not affected.
In conclusion, the use of selenium yeast in pig production appears a good solution to reduce the impact of stress in animals. It is also profitable for the producer, allowing increased feed value and adding value to production with development of the functional food market.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Lallemand Animal Nutrition.