Alternatives for control & detection of boar taint in market hogs
Castration of piglets is a common practice in Canada, as in many other countries, to avoid boar taint in pork meat. There is, however, a growing interest in raising non-castrated males for animal welfare reasons and because intact males are more growth efficient than castrates. Sexual odors are caused by the accumulation of androstenone and skatole in adipose tissues. Androstenone is a steroid produced in the testicles at the onset of puberty and plays the role of a pheromone. Skatole is a result of the bacterial degradation of tryptophan in the intestine. Genetic selection
to reduce sexual odors to a level acceptable to consumers is a potential solution to this problem.