Development of boar taint detection kits using DNA aptamers for use in commercial packing plants. Phase 1: Lab validation - Ontario Pork - Active Research
Thursday, July 2, 2020
    

Active Research

Ontario Pork has a call for research proposals once a year. These projects were approved for funding by the board on recommendation of the research committee. If you have questions or need further information about the research posted here please contact Cristiane Mesquita at cristiane.mesquita@ontariopork.on.ca.


Active Research

Development of boar taint detection kits using DNA aptamers for use in commercial packing plants. Phase 1: Lab validation

Development of boar taint detection kits using DNA aptamers for use in commercial packing plants. Phase 1: Lab validation

Project 20-006 - Dr. Maria DeRosa, Carleton University

Boar taint is an offensive odour in meat from non-castrated male pigs caused by specific chemical compounds present in the fat tissue. Most consumers can detect this offensive odour or taste during the cooking or consumption of pork, thus it is necessary for pork producers to use strategies to manage boar taint (typically castration). Fear of boar taint makes boar meat from intact males unpopular in international trade and Ontario's pork producers do not want to jeopardize their excellent reputation for product quality. With many countries banning piglet castration to improve animal welfare, there is an urgent need for tools to address boar taint without castration. In collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement (CCSI), the DeRosa lab at Carleton University has developed aptamers (artificial receptors) for two compounds implicated in boar taint (androstenone and skatole) and a prototype lateral flow device (dipstick test) for use in pig carcass testing.

This research project will do the first phase of validation of this technology: in lab testing with samples provided by CCSI. Future phases would involve field testing in a packing plant. Ontario's swine industry would benefit greatly from a boar taint test. Firstly, an inexpensive, reliable biosensor for boar taint could be used directly on carcasses on the line at the slaughter plant, saving time and money in sorting. Secondly, the biosensor could be used with genetic analysis to help inform genetic potential for boar taint to aid with genetic marker discovery and breeding.
 

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