Effects of carcass weight and muscle on texture, structure

and myofibre characteristics of wild boar meat
, K. Lachowicz, L. Gajowiecki, M. Sobczak,
M. Kotowicz, A.
Department of Meat Science, Agricultural University of Szczecin, Kazimierza Kro´ lewicza 4, Szczecin 71-550, Poland
Received 20 September 2004; received in revised form 18 February 2005; accepted 21 March 2005
Texture, histology and muscle fibre characteristic of selected muscles: m. quadriceps femoris (QF), m. biceps femoris (BF), and m.
semimembranosus (SM) of wild boars of different carcass weight (20 ± 2 and 60 ± 3 kg SD) were compared. Muscle texture (hard-
ness, cohesiveness, springiness, chewiness) was determined with the double penetration test performed with the Instron 1140 appa-
ratus. Structural elements (muscle fibre cross-section area, perimysium and endomysium thickness) and percentage of myofibres of
each type: I (slow oxidative), IIA (fast oxidative-glycolytic) and IIB (fast glycolytic) per muscle fibre bundle, were measured in mus-
cle samples using a computer image analysis program. The young wild boar muscles showed significantly lower values for the tex-
tural parameters (p < 0.05). The muscle fibre cross-sectional areas of the juvenile wild boar muscles were significantly lower and the
perimysium and endomysium thinner (p < 0.05) than those in the old wild boar meat, while the percentage of type IIB fibres was
higher. Of all the wild boar muscles tested, the highest hardness and chewiness values were found in BF which, at the same time,
showed the highest fibre cross-sectional area and the thickest perimysium and endomysium. The highest percentage of I and IIA fibre
types was typical of BF and SM either in young or in old wild boars with the lowest percentage of type I and the highest percentage
of type IIB fibres being found in the QF. The results suggest that a higher hardness of wild boar muscles can be connected with a
thicker perimysium and endomysium, fibres of higher cross-sectional area and probably a higher content of red fibres (type I).
Ó 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Wild boars; Carcass weight; Texture; Structure; Muscle fibre types
1. Introduction
According to numerous authors livestock muscles
differ in terms of textural parameters (Dransfield,
1977; Harris & Shorthose, 1988; Shackelford, Reagan,
Mann, Lyon, & Miller, 1989), structure (Dransfield,
1977; Liu, Nishimura, & Takahashi, 1996), and muscle
fibre types (Kłosowska & Fiedler, 2003; Ruusunen &
Puolanne, 2004; Solomon & Dunn, 1988; Wegner et al.,
Relationships between livestock carcass weight as
well as between meat texture and histology of their mus-
cles were demonstrated by Dransfield (1977), Kołczak,
Palka, and Zarzycki (1992), Liu et al. (1996).
Despite the similarity between pigs and wild boars,
wild boar meat should be treated as a different raw
material. The histochemical composition of wild boar
meat differs to some extent from the histochemical com-
position of pork (Ruusunen & Puolanne, 2004). The dif-
ferences are caused by life style and feeding pattern
differences experienced by wild boars and pigs (Korze-
niowski, Bojarska, & Cierach, 1991; Prost, Pełczyn´ ska,
& Libelt, 1985; Rede, Pribisch, & Rehelic´, 1986; Ristic´,
Zivkovic´, & Anic´ic´, 1987).
0309-1740/$ - see front matter Ó 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Corresponding author. Tel.: +48 91 423 1061; fax: +48 91 423 3448.
E-mail address: ztm02@fish.ar.szczecin.pl (J.
Meat Science 71 (2005) 244–248
Wild boars of different weights are consumed nowa-
days in Poland. Acomparisonof shot wild boars indicates
that most of the animals have weights between 20 and
70 kg (Dzier_ zyn´ ska-Cybulko & Fruzin´ ski, 1997). It
should be expected, that the mass of the carcass could
be an important factor in its texture, histology and as a re-
sult it might also influence its technological usability.
Therefore, this study was aimed at comparing se-
lected muscles of wild boars of different carcass weight
in terms of their texture, structure and fibre types.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Source of animals
A total of 10 carcasses from wild boars, of two differ-
ent ages (five carcasses in each group), shot during win-
ter in an enclosed area in the forest of the Western
Pomeranian District were used. The carcass weights of
the wild boars were 20 ± 2 and 60 ± 3 kg, while their
ages were 0.5 and 3 years, respectively.
2.2. Carcass and sample preparation
Shortly after being shot (30–45 min) 1 · 1 · 0.5 cm
samples were taken from the mid-part of muscles biceps
femoris (BF), semimembranosus (SM), and quadriceps
femoris (QF), frozen in liquid-nitrogen and stored at
À80 °C for muscle fibre characteristics analysis.
Carcasses were transferred to cold room of the Agri-
cultural University of Szczecin. Half-carcasses of the
experimental animals, kept at 4 °C for 48 h from the mo-
ment of shooting were used to obtain 10 hams from each
group, of pH 5.7–5.9. Each ham was deskinned, de-
boned, and cleaned of external fat. The following mus-
cles were dissected out of the hams: BF, SM, and QF
of mass about 0.55–1.30, 0.50–1.10, and 0.50–0.90 kg,
respectively. After trimming, each muscle, of both
groups of wild boars, weighed about 450–550 g.
About 1.2 cm thick slices were cut perpendicularly to
the fibres from each muscle. Subsequently, samples for
additional structural analyses were cut from the slices.
The remaining two parts, were brought together so that
their cut surfaces touched and they were placed in elastic
thermally shrunk nets, tightly wrapped in thermoresis-
tant plastic sheets, and cooked in water at 85 °C until
the geometric centre reached 68 °C. The cooked samples
were cooled under tap water to about 12 °C, wrapped in
plastic to prevent desiccation and stored at 4 °C for 12 h.
2.3. Objective measurement of meat structure and texture
2.3.1. Myofibre classification and measurements
Myofibre characteristics were made on liquid-nitro-
gen-frozen samples of muscle. In order to classify the
muscle fibres into type I, IIA and IIB groups, cross-
sections (10 lm) were cut at À26 °C with a cryostat
HM 505 EV. The sections were placed on glass slides,
stained using the myosin ATPase method (Guth &
Samaha, 1970) with an alkaline preincubation solution
(pH 10.4), and classified according to Brooke and Kai-
ser (1970) into three groups: type I (slow oxidative), type
IIA (fast oxidative-glycolitic), and type IIB (fast
Stained sections were examined with the image anal-
ysis system using a computer program (Multi Scan Base
v.13). The following parameters were computed: per-
centage of different fibre types (%) (type I, type IIA,
and type IIB) per muscle fibre bundle, and more than
10 bundles were examined for each muscle sample. A
magnification of 100· was used.
2.3.2. Structure elements measurements
Histological assays were made on samples cut from
the mid-part of the BF, SM, and QF muscles of both
groups of animals, three cuts being taken from each
muscle. The samples were dehydrated in alcohol, fixed
in Sannomiya solution, and embedded in paraffin
blocks. The blocks were sectioned with a microtome.
The sections were placed on glass slides, contrast-stained
with hematoxylin and eosin, and sealed with Canada
balsam (Burck, 1975).
The Multi Scan Base v.13 computer image analysis
software was used to evaluate the fibre cross-sectional
area, perimysium and endomysium thickness. A magnifi-
cation of 100· was used. The structural elements were
measured in an area of fibre bundle, and more than
200 muscle fibre and perimysium and endomysium thick-
ness/samples were analyzed.
2.3.3. Texture measurements
Texture measurements were made on the cooked
meat at about 18 °C. After removal of the plastic sheets,
20 ± 2 mm thick slices were cut out from each sample to
determine their texture on an Instron 1140 apparatus
interfaced with a computer. The texture was evaluated
using the double penetration test. The test involved driv-
ing a 0.96 cm diameter shaft twice, parallel to the muscle
fibre direction into a sample down to 70% of its height
(14 mm), using a crosshead speed of 50 mm min
a load cell of 50 N. The force-deformation curve ob-
tained served to calculate meat hardness, cohesiveness,
springiness and chewiness (Bourne, 1982). The proce-
dure was repeated 9–14 times on each sample.
2.4. Statistical analyses
Statistical analyses of the data involved the calcula-
tion of the mean values and standard deviations (SD)
for each muscle and each group of wild boars. The
differences in textural and histochemical properties
Zochowska et al. / Meat Science 71 (2005) 244–248 245
between the muscles within a group of wild boars as well
as between the groups of wild boars of different carcass
weight for each muscle were studied using the analysis of
covariance. Treatment differences were tested for signif-
icance at the 5% level. All the calculations were per-
formed with Statistica
v.5.0 PL software.
3. Results and discussion
As shown in Table 1, of all the young wild boar mus-
cles tested, the highest values of hardness, cohesiveness
and chewiness were recorded in the biceps femoris (BF)
muscle, the lowest values typically being in the quadri-
ceps femoris (QF) muscle. No significant differences in
the textural parameters were found between QF and
semimembranosus (SM) muscles.
In the wild boars of 60 kg the BF, again had the high-
est hardness, cohesiveness and chewiness values, and the
lowest values of these parameters were recorded in QF.
QF and SM were intermediate in terms of their textural
Thus, regardless of the animal group, BF was the
toughest muscle, and QF the least tough. No informa-
tion about comparison of muscle texture in wild boars
of different weight was found in the literature. However,
numerous authors comparing different species of farm
animals have reported a similar order of hardness for
ham muscles and showed BF to be tougher that either
QF or SM (Dransfield, 1977; Lachowicz, Sobczak, Ga-
jowiecki, &
Zych, 2003; Shackelford et al., 1989).
A comparison among the textural parameters of the
muscles from wild boars of different carcass weight
showed that greater differences in hardness, springiness
and chewiness were found between BF muscles, whereas
the SM was the most differentiated muscle in respect of
cohesiveness. Results obtained in this study are in agree-
ment with results obtained for farm animals by Bouton
et al. (1978), Shorthose and Harris (1990), Kołczak et al.
(1992), who observed that muscles from older animals
were tougher than those obtained from the younger ones.
Regardless of the animal group, histological analysis
showed BF to be characterized by the highest mean fibre
cross-sectional area and to have the thickest perimysium
and endomysium. Lower values were found in the other
muscles, and QF was characterized by the most delicate
histological structure (Table 2).
Numerous authors comparing different animal spe-
cies have also reported higher cross-sectional areas or fi-
bre diameters and thicker perimysium and endomysium
in BF compared to SM or QF (Dransfield, 1977; Lach-
owicz et al., 2003; Rahelic, Manojlovic, & Vicevic,
1979), and Lachowicz,
Zochowska, and and Sobczak
(2004) showed that the BF of young wild boar is charac-
terized by a less delicate structure than the other
Table 1
Mean values of textural parameters of the QF, SM and BF muscles of wild boars of different carcass weight
Carcass weight (kg) Muscle Hardness (N) Cohesiveness (À) Springiness (cm) Chewiness (N cm)
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
20 m. quadriceps femoris 33.25
3.58 0.406
0.03 0.99
0.01 13.21
m. semimembranosus 36.93
3.25 0.423
0.05 0.99
0.06 16.15
m. biceps femoris 40.76
1.87 0.455
0.04 0.96
0.07 17.65
60 m. quadriceps femoris 41.80
2.86 0.430
0.02 0.93
0.11 16.72
m. semimembranosus 45.78
3.49 0.461
0.03 0.94
0.08 19.84
m. biceps femoris 53.78
3.62 0.447
0.01 0.90
0.07 21.63
a,b numbers in columns, marked with identical superscripts are not significantly different within an animal group at the 0.05 level of probability.
1,2 numbers in columns, marked with identical subscripts are not significantly different between animal groups at the 0.05 level of probability.
Table 2
Mean values of structural elements of QF, SM and BF muscles of wild boars of different carcass weight
Muscle Carcass weight (kg)
20 60
Muscle fibre
area (lm
thickness (lm)
thickness (lm)
Muscle fibre
cross-section area
thickness (lm)
thickness (lm)
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
m. quadriceps femoris 700.2
60.1 13.53
3.04 2.20
0.10 1161.9
87.1 20.11
1.91 2.48
m. semimembranosus 738.1
54.9 16.99
1.70 2.22
0.12 1347.8
96.2 22.74
2.00 2.65
m. biceps femoris 955.5
71.6 21.11
2.10 2.36
0.20 1605.1
102.0 23.26
1.84 2.89
a–c numbers in columns, marked with identical superscripts are not significantly different within an animal group at the 0.05 level of probability.
1,2 numbers in columns, marked with identical subscripts are not significantly different between animal groups at the 0.05 level of probability.
246 J.
Zochowska et al. / Meat Science 71 (2005) 244–248
Acomparison of the values of the muscle structure ele-
ments in both groups of animals showed that the muscles
from the young animals consisted of fibres of lower cross-
sectional areas, andhad thinner perimysiumandendomys-
ium than muscles from the old wild boars (Table 2). The
highest differences in the mean fibre cross-sectional area
were found between the SM muscles of young and old
wild boars. Considering connective tissue thickness, the
largest differences among the experimental animals were
observed between the QF and BF muscles.
The effect of age or weight of carcasses after slaughter
on meat structure has been the subject of research of Hi-
ner, Hankins, Sloane, Fellers, and Anderson (1953),
Tuma, Venable, Wuthier, and Hendrickson (1962),
who also found an increase in average muscle fibre
diameter with increasing animal age in cattle.
Results obtained in this study confirmed a significant
increase in perimysium and endomysium thickness with
an increase in wild boar carcass weight. Nishimura, Hat-
tori, and Takahashi (1999) found, in beef muscles an in-
crease in the thickness of the collagen fibres in the
perimysium with an increase in cattle weight. Fang,
Nishimura, and Takahashi (1999) suggest that, in pigs
the perimysium thickens as a result of the increase in
the number and thickness of perimysial sheets, which be-
come thicker with growth. According to the same
authors maturation of the endomysium is accompanied
by hypertrophy of muscle fibres.
When the myofibre characteristics in the wild boar
muscles were compared, the highest percentage of type
I and the lowest percentage of type IIB fibres were
found, regardless of the animal group, in the BF
(Table 3). However, no significant differences in the per-
centage of type I fibres were found between QF and SM
Muscles from the 60 kg boars, compared to these from
the younger animals showed a higher percentage of type I
and type IIA fibres. Our findings are in agreement with
those found for wild boar muscles by Ruusunen andPuol-
anne (2004), and for cattle by Picard, Gagniere, Geay,
Hocquette, and Robelin (1995), Brandstetter, Picard,
and Geay (1998) who have shown that muscles of older
animals compared to young ones contain a higher per-
centage of type I fibres. However, Swatland (1995) men-
tioned that muscle fibres undergo a continual alteration
throughout life, and that ‘‘fibre type’’ merely reflects the
constitution of a fibre at any particular time.
Different contents of red and white fibres in the mus-
cles could be connected with the differences in the tex-
tural parameters observed in this study (Kłosowska &
Fiedler, 2003; Seideman, 1986). According to Kłoso-
wska (1975), red fibres are characterized by thicker con-
nective tissue, so the higher hardness of wild boar
muscles with a high percentage of type I fibres found
in this study could be connected with a thicker endomys-
ium. Also Karlsson et al. (1993), Kłosowska and Fiedler
(2003) reported that a higher percentage of white muscle
fibres in muscles was inversely proportional to the shear
forces. However, numerous authors have found that dif-
ferences in the textural parameters of muscles is caused
by other structural elements, a higher hardness being re-
lated to a thicker connective tissue (Fang et al., 1999;
Lachowicz et al., 2004; Liu et al., 1996; Pełczyn´ ska,
1979), and a higher mean fibre cross-sectional area (Hi-
ner et al., 1953; Prost, 1975; Tyszkiewicz, 1979).
To sum up, it can be concluded that BF is character-
ized by fibres of higher cross-section areas, thicker
perimysium and endomysium and higher percentage of
red type fibres; it is also harder than the QF and SM.
Higher hardness of muscles from older boars could also
be connected with thicker perimysium and endomysium,
fibres of higher cross-sectional area and probably a
higher content of red fibres, compared with muscles
from younger animals.
4. Conclusions
The highest values of hardness, chewiness, the highest
mean cross-section area, the thickest perimysium and
endomysium and the highest percentage of type I fibres
were typical of BF, regardless of the animal group
tested, the lowest values being recorded in QF.
Compared with older wild boar muscles, those of
juvenile wild boars showed a lower mean fibre cross-
sectional area, a thinner perimysium and endomysium,
and a higher percentage of type IIB fibres; they were also
less hard and easier to chew.
Table 3
Muscle fibre type percentage of QF, SM and BF muscles of wild boars of different carcass weight
Muscle Carcass weight (kg)
20 60
I (%) IIA (%) IIB (%) I (%) IIA (%) IIB (%)
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
m. quadriceps femoris 8.6
0.8 18.2
1.3 73.2
3.4 12.6
1.0 20.2
1.5 67.2
m. semimembranosus 10.6
1.3 26.4
2.9 63.0
4.0 11.3
0.5 32.5
3.2 56.2
m. biceps femoris 31.0
2.1 22.8
2.8 46.2
2.9 39.5
1.2 21.7
1.8 38.8
a–c numbers in columns, marked with identical superscripts are not significantly different within an animal group at the 0.05 level of probability.
1,2 numbers in columns, marked with identical subscripts are not significantly different between animal groups at the 0.05 level of probability.
Zochowska et al. / Meat Science 71 (2005) 244–248 247
This study was founded by the State Committee for
Scientific Research in 2004–2005 as a research project.
The authors wish to thank the employees of Mas-AR
Food Industry Research and Production Plant, Agricul-
tural University of Szczecin for wild boar carcass
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