To assess the effects of dietary CLA, lysine and sex on performance, blood metabolites, carcass characteristics, meat quality and skeletal development, seventy-two pigs (initially 105.3 ± 6.6 kg live weight) barrows and gilts, were assigned to one of four diets in a 2X2X2 factorial arrangement. The diets contained 0% or 0.75% CLA, and 0% or 0.16% of L-lysine–HCl. All pigs were slaughtered at an average weight of 153.4 ± 11.0 kg. Neither CLA nor lysine supplementation influenced growth, blood metabolites or carcass characteristics. CLA reduced (P < 0.05) pH24 and increased (P < 0.01) yellowness (b*) of the Longissimus muscle. Lysine increased (P < 0.01) pH24 and reduced (P < 0.01) muscle ash content. CLA reduced (P < 0.05) collagen synthesis, and lysine increased (P < 0.05) collagen synthesis in Longissimus muscle, but no influence on intramuscular collagen maturity or muscle hydroxylysylpyridinoline crosslink concentration were observed. In addition, metacarpal bone diameter was reduced (P < 0.05) by CLA. Barrows had higher ADG, final weight (P < 0.01), carcass weight, lean percentage (P < 0.05), serum cholesterol (P < 0.05) and triacylglycerol (P < 0.001) than gilts. Metatarsal diameter was larger in gilts than barrows (P < 0.05).
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