Development of boar taint detection kits using DNA aptamers for use in commercial packing plants. Phase 1: Lab validation - Ontario Pork - Completed Research
Sunday, May 26, 2024
    

Completed 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 Jessica Fox at [email protected]


Completed 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.

A simple dipstick technology was optimized and found to be highly promising for boar taint detection. When compared to current detection methods like HPLC, Gas chromatography and LC-MS mass spectrometry, our lateral flow assay method has advantages for its simplicity, speed and low cost.   Future phases would involve testing fresh samples in a packing plant environment as well as further optimizing our extraction procedures. 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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