Poultry meat production has been very dynamic over the last decade with an annual increase in the world production of 8.3% between 1987 and 1997 (Mandava and Hoogenkamp, 1999). At the same time, the marketing of poultry has been greatly diversified with a significant increase in joints and processed products. The success of poultry production has been strongly related to improvements in growth and carcass yield, mainly through the increase in breast proportion and reduction in abdominal fatness. Recently, researches have been intensified in order to precise the effect of this selection on the processing quality of meat and the possibilities of including meat quality as a criteria of selection in poultry breeding schemes. Indeed, as the proportion of processed products is growing, meat quality will have a major impact on the development of poultry production, especially for high-quality products in which supply of food additives is limited. As in pork, pH variations significantly affect the storage and the processing qualities of poultry meat, by modifying its water-holding capacity and rheological properties. Low pH in the early stage of rigor onset decreases water-holding capacity and the technological quality of meat. These quality defects are usually referred to as pale, soft and exudative (PSE) meat (Kijowski and Niewiarowicz, 1978 ; Barbut, 1997). High pH meat known as dry, firm and dark (DFD) presents a poor storage quality. In contrast to pork, until recently, very little was known in poultry on the impact of genetics on the post-mortem pH fall and its genetic relationship with meat quality. First estimates of the genetic parameters of meat quality traits have been thus estimated in chicken (Le Bihan-Duval et al., 2001) and turkey (unpublished results). Because of the paucity of results in poultry, and because different slaughtered conditions (experimental or industrial) were used for these genetic studies, the results obtained in both species will be presented in this paper.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 11, , 11.14, 2002
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