The value of in vivo real time ultrasonography in assessing loin muscularity and carcass composition of rabbits

Silva, Severiano
Mourão, José Luís
Pinheiro, Victor
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Sixty nine growing rabbits were scanned over the lumbar region using a real time ultrasonography (RTU) machine to estimate loin muscularity and carcass composition. Longissimus thoracis et lumborum muscle (LM) depth, width and area were taken. Animals were weighed (LW), slaughtered and carcass composition was determined. Equivalent measurements to those taken by RTU in vivo were taken on the carcass and muscularity indices were calculated on carcass and in vivo. Simple correlations between the two types of measurements were determined and carcass composition was estimated by simple and multiple regressions. The LW varied from 1200 to 3410 g. The simple correlations between carcass and in vivo RTU LM measurements were high (P < 0.001) and the LM area was the trait with the highest correlation (r = 0.92). Simple correlations between muscularity indices measured by RTU and in carcass were significant (P < 0.001). In vivo RTU measurements explained a large amount of the variation of the carcass meat weight (MW) and bone weight (r2 range from 0.49 to 0.77; P < 0.001). Using multiple regression equations to estimate carcass composition, the best fit was obtained with the LW and one or more in vivo RTU measurement. The LW explained 90.6% of the variation of MW in the carcass. In vivo RTU is able to estimate loin muscularity and carcass composition of rabbits with accuracy. The usefulness of in vivo RTU and LW to predict carcass composition of rabbits using multiple regressions was also shown.
Real time ultrasound , Muscularity , Carcass composition , Rabbits