Effect of Dietary Quercetin on Pork Quality
The effects of feeding quercetin, a glycolytic inhibitor, on pork quality were investigated. Four hours pretransport, market-weight pigs (111±7 kg) were allowed access to 547 grams of feed containing 0, 2.5, or 12.4 ppm of quercetin. Dietary quercetin addition slowed the rate of pH decline in muscle postmortem and minimized percentage of water loss from pork during retail storage. Muscle pH from 22 to 180 minutes postmortem was 0.08 to 0.12 units greater in pigs fed quercetin, but the ultimate pH measured at 24 hours postmortem was not affected by diet. Percentage of water loss from muscle samples stored under retail conditions for 3, 6, 9, or 12 days was 2.2 to 0.3% less in pigs fed quercetin. Dietary quercetin did not affect pork Hunter L* (paleness) score but did lower Hunter a* (redness) scores by 0.6 units. Based on these data, the dietary addition of quercetin shortly before slaughter is a biologically feasible technology for improving water holding capacity of pork products.