Past, present, and future trends in boar taint detection

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Clément Burgeon, Marc Debliquy, Driss Lahem, Justine Rodriguez, Ahmadou Ly, Marie-Laure Fauconnier

Burgeon, C., (2021) Past, present, and future trends in boar taint detection Trends in Food Science and Technology, Volume 112, 283-297


Boar taint is an unpleasant smell found in the meat of some uncastrated male pigs. This taint is often prevented by surgical castration without anesthesia or analgesia. However, this practice is an animal welfare concern. Production of entire males and immunocastration were suggested as alternatives. Ensuring that meat is untainted remains a priority for slaughterhouses. This has initiated research about the development of new boar taint detection methods. Most focus on detecting skatole and androstenone, two major contributors to boar taint.
Scope and approach
This review aims to describe past methods and recent advances made in rapid boar taint detection, and provide leads for future research. The main findings of past methods such as the use of insect behavior-based sensors, e-noses, and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, are presented. Recently developed methods based on mass spectrometry, Raman spectroscopy, and sensors are also discussed. Finally, biosensors showing promising results and potential for boar taint detection are presented. The advantages and drawbacks of these techniques, cost analysis, and possible challenges encountered during their application to on-line detection are addressed.
Key findings and conclusions
This review presents numerous techniques that were developed for boar taint detection. Some methods, such as laser diode thermal desorption combined with tandem mass spectrometry, proved their on-line/at-line efficiency as they are fast and accurate. However, initial investment and difficulty of implementation could lead to reluctance in applying these. Further research could focus on testing new sensor materials whereas sensory evaluation remains the most practical method used in slaughterhouses.
Androstenone Skatole Boar taint detection Slaughterhouse Biosensor

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Trends in Food Science and Technology