Effects of feeding frequency on meat quality traits and Longissimus muscle proteome in finishing pigs
Feeding frequency has been considered as an important factor to affect body weight (BW) gain and fat deposition in animals and human (Schwarz et al., 2011; Chaix et al., 2014; Le Naou et al., 2014). Meal frequency impacts BW gain by regulating the partition and storage of energy (glycogen and lipids), rather than modulating the digestibility and absorption of nutrients in pigs (Leveille, 1966; Allee et al., 1972; Chastanet et al., 2007; Schneider et al., 2011). However, conflicting results of meal frequency on BW and fat gain in pigs were observed among previous studies (Friend and Cunningham, 1964; Allee et al., 1972; Schneider et al., 2011). While some experiments showed that increased meal frequency improved growth performance of pigs (Schneider et al., 2007, 2011), other works reported otherwise (Allee et al., 1972; Le Naou et al., 2014). However, Le Naou et al. (2014) indicated that pigs fed twice daily had greater BW gain and feed efficiency than those fed 12 meals per day. Besides, there was also a study that no effect of meal frequency was observed on growth performance of pigs (Friend and Cunningham, 1964). Differences in average daily feed intake (ADFI) between treatments might be the main reason for discrepancies between studies on the relationships between daily meal frequency and growth performance (Friend and Cunningham, 1964; Allee et al., 1972; Le Naou et al., 2014).
Whereas the effects of feeding frequency on postprandial metabolism and circulating nutrients have been recently described (Le Naou et al., 2014), there is still a paucity of information regarding the possible alterations on muscle metabolism. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of feeding frequency (two meals per day vs. FA) on growth performance, carcass composition, meat quality and Longissimus muscle (LM) proteome in finishing pigs. The results of this study may provide a better understanding of the muscle metabolic alterations related to daily feeding frequency and possible changes in meat quality.