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Direct and correlated responses to selection in two lines of rabbits selected for feed efficiency under ad libitum and restricted feeding: II. Carcass and meat quality

Abstract : To get insights into selection criteria for feed efficiency, 2 rabbit lines have been created: the ConsoResidual line was selected for residual feed intake (RFI) with ad libitum feeding and the ADGrestrict line was selected for ADG under restricted feeding. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the impact on carcass and meat quality of the genetic selections. This comparison was performed using 2 different feeding strategies corresponding to the selection design. Carcass and meat quality traits were recorded for the 3 lines (ConsoResidual, ADGrestrict, and an unselected control [generation 0 {G0}]) in the 2 feeding systems (ad libitum and restricted) for 163 animals. Concerning the line effect, the BW at 63 d old was higher for the ADGrestrict line compared with the G0 and ConsoResidual lines (P < 0.0001). There was no line effect on the gastrointestinal tract. The rabbits did not exhibit a different carcass yield but showed different carcass traits. Indeed, the ConsoResidual rabbits had a higher hind leg yield (P < 0.0001) but no difference in the meat-to-bone ratio of the hind leg. On the contrary, the ADGrestrict line had a higher proportion of forelegs plus thoracic cage (P = 0.03). We also found lower perirenal (P < 0.0001) and scapular fat yields (P < 0.0001) in ConsoResidual rabbits. The ADGrestrict line had an intermediate perirenal fat yield compared with the other 2 lines. The G0 line always exhibited higher fat yields. Concerning meat quality, the ConsoResidual rabbits showed a lower ultimate pH (P < 0.0001) and higher water loss (drip and cooking loss; P < 0.002) compared with the G0 and ADGrestrict rabbits. The feeding level had a strong effect on the gastrointestinal tract (P = 0.0004) and the carcass yield (P = 0.001). The latter was decreased in restricted rabbits. The effects of feeding strategy on meat quality were detrimental in the case of restricted feeding. Even if the ultimate pH was slightly higher in restricted rabbits (P = 0.0002), the carcass chilling loss (P = 0.0005) and the drip loss during 6 d (P < 0.0001) were higher. The selection on ADG with restricted access to feed seems to be less adversely correlated with carcass traits and meat quality traits but it leads to an increase in the live weight of the rabbits. Adversely, the selection on RFI, without affecting growth rate, would not modify age at slaughter because growth rate is not affected, but it might induce detrimental effects on meat quality.
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Caroline Molette, Hélène Gilbert, Catherine Larzul, Elodie Balmisse, Julien Ruesche, et al.. Direct and correlated responses to selection in two lines of rabbits selected for feed efficiency under ad libitum and restricted feeding: II. Carcass and meat quality. Journal of Animal Science, American Society of Animal Science, 2016, 94 (1), pp.49-57. ⟨10.2527/jas.2015-9403⟩. ⟨hal-02640018⟩



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