Main Article Content
The pork industry is constantly seeking economical and sustainable strategies that will improve production efficiencies and meat quality. Such successful improvements will be of value even here in Botswana to improve food security. The evaluation of pork characteristics after use of these strategies is important. This study aimed at evaluating the effect of a beta-agonist (BA - Ractopamine) and porcine growth hormone (rpGH - Reporcin) on the pork characteristics of the longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle of adult gilts (starting weights of 85+5kg) treated for 27 days under three treatment groups (15 animals per treatment group). The control group was fed a standard commercial diet ad-libitum, while the beta-agonist (BA) group were also fed ad-libitum the standard commercial diet containing Ractopamine (20mg/kg) and the growth hormone (rpGH) group were fed the commercial diet ad-libitum and administered Reporcin (10mg) intramuscularly every other day until the day before slaughter. No significant differences were observed between treatment groups regarding the gilts’ carcass weights after 27 days of treatment (control – 81.98kg; BA – 86.97kg and rpHG – 84.51kg). However, LD muscle from gilts of the growth hormone (1.569%) and Ractopamine (1.502%) groups had significantly lower lipid content compared to the control group at 1.873% (p <0.001), but no significant differences were observed between groups regarding fatty acid profiles. The two growth promoters can thus be locally adopted for use to improve feed utilization, pork production and to lower lipid content in pork of growing gilts without deleteriously affecting fatty acid composition.