Fat contained in meat is an important contributor to sensory traits: it increases meat tenderness and flavor. In commercial pigs, increasing meat’s fat was obtained by feeding, until the fattening period, a diet slightly lower in protein respect to their requirements. Local pig breeds, such as Cinta Senese, are known as obese pigs because their great potential to deposit fat, which is mainly stored in backfat deposits. This study was aimed to assess if protein restriction in growing can further increase meat’s fat without alter overall body fatness of obese pigs. The normal feeding management and the restricted one were compared in two groups of Cinta Senese pigs. Results showed that protein restriction during the growing phase affected only few traits. The restricted animal was more able to use the protein in feeding, but few modifications were found in the chemical composition of meat, including the meat’s fat, that remained unchanged. So, obese genotype might be less responsive to this kind of feeding management.
In lean genotypes, protein restriction during growing increases intramuscular fat content without affecting the overall carcass fatness. The present study aims to assess the feasibility of applying this feeding management on an obese pig, the Cinta Senese, since obese genotypes are characterized by great lipogenic potential often leading to excessively high backfat deposits. Twenty pigs of average weight 38 kg, were divided in two groups, the first group was fed a protein restricted diet (9% of crude protein), while the second one a normal diet (13.5% of crude protein). During finishing, both groups were fed the same diet (10% of crude protein). Average daily gain, protein conversion index, backfat thickness, carcass weight, and prime cuts were determined. A loin sample joint was dissected in intermuscular fat, bone, subcutaneous fat, longissimus lumborum, and psoas major. On longissimus lumborum, physical and chemical analysis was carried out. The fatty acid profile of longissimus lumborum and loin subcutaneous fat were determined. Data were analyzed by analysis of variance. Protein conversion index resulted lower in the restricted group, while backfat was slightly greater. Meat quality traits were not affected by feeding management. Slightly modifications in subcutaneous outer layer fatty acids profile were observed. The protein restriction during growing did not seem a suitable mode of feeding management for Cinta Senese pigs.