Taintstop, the proven in-feed solution to combat boar taint
Taintstop® is an innovative, non-invasive and cost-effective dietary concept to produce healthy, tasty pork. The in-feed solution efficiently reduces boar taint by modulating gut fermentation and decreasing the offensive odour-causing compounds. While Taintstop maintains the excellent feed conversion of entire male pigs, it is the only proven dietary solution that reduces both skatole and androstenone levels in pig meat.
Taintstop, the animal-friendly alternative to castration
For centuries, pigs have been castrated to prevent boar taint. However, a potential ban on routine castration in European pig herds is looming with public and consumer concerns for animal welfare, supported by pressure from a number of governmental and non-governmental organisations – including from the pig industry. One such example is Boars on the Way¹, an initiative of the Dutch pig sector aiming to end castration of male pigs in the European Union – and to offer ‘an overview of the newest insights on boar management and market acceptance of boar meat.’ In the same vein, the international research network IPEMA² – short for innovative approaches for pork production with entire males – was set up to ‘find general, region-specific or chain-specific solutions to facilitate the development of alternatives to surgical castration of piglets.’
The time is ripe. Pig producers are increasingly looking for alternative welfare and animal-friendly solutions with low labour, time and financial costs. And consumers are looking for boar taint-free meat, produced to high welfare standards and without the need for antibiotics. Only one such solution is available: Taintstop®.
The main culprits: androstenone and skatole
Boar taint is mainly caused by the accumulation of two compounds in the fat of male adult pigs, androstenone and skatole.
Androstenone: a male pheromone produced in the testicles. It is stored in the salivary glands and in fat tissue. Smells like sweat or urine.
Skatole: a bacterial metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan, produced in the large bowel. It gives off a faecal odour. On average, consumers are more sensitive to skatole than to androstenone. Also, if skatole levels are low, androstenone is less likely to be detected.
Taintstop is the only in-feed solution reducing both skatole and androstenone levels (see table 1).
How does Taintstop work?
When given during the last 2 weeks before slaughter, Taintstop allows a highly significant reduction of skatole levels and contributes to the reduction of androstenone.
Its action is based on three nutritional pillars:
Its specific fibre components ensure that the digestion is moved from an enzymatic to a more fermentative process, with enhanced production of volatile fatty acids in the large intestine. This creates a natural ‘pre-biotic’ effect. The formulation also provides an optimal balance between dietary protein (maximum 13%) and fibre fractions avoid the influx of undigested protein in the large intestine, which are an ideal substrate for the skatole-producing proteolytic bacteria. The unique and patented formulation of Taintstop reduces the amount of undigested tryptophan, which can be transformed into skatole. Furthermore, the formulation contains a series of natural additives supporting the pig’s metabolism.
The production of androstenone in the boar’s testicles cannot be reduced by raw materials, but additives included in Taintstop can increase the breakdown of both androstenone and skatole, enhancing their elimination in the liver and kidneys.
Up to fivefold reduction of skatole
And, does it work? The proof is in the pudding: in order to check its efficacy, a total of ten experimental trials were carried out by Dumoulin, a Belgian feed compounder (Arvesta Group), between 2016 and 2019.
The graphs show the effect of feeding Taintstop® on skatole and androstenone levels in neck fat samples.
Results not only show an absolute reduction in skatole levels and lower androstenone levels but also a greater uniformity of the olfactory quality of meat.
Research studies found that Taintstop:
- Significantly reduces skatole levels by 2.5 to 5 times and tends to lower androsterone levels
- Eliminates ‘peak outliers’ with very high concentrations of skatole (and androsterone) levels, improving uniformity
- Does not impact the zootechnical traits (no changes in carcass weight or lean meat percentage)
- Is as effective in pelleted form as in meal form
Compared to surgical castration and immunocastration, the use of Taintstop is time and labour-efficient, is easy to use, carries no risk to the operator and helps maintain a good feed conversion. The animals do not need to be handled or injected and Taintstop helps improve digestion and lower the impact on the environment by a reduced nitrogen and phosphorus output.
Another great advantage is the reduced overall cost to farmers: cost/benefit analyses have shown that the use of Taintstop provides up to €5.90 extra profit per slaughtered pig compared to pigs castrated under anaesthesia (and €3.90 without anaesthesia). When compared to immunocastration, more cost effective than castration, profit is around €1.00 more per pig in the Taintstop model.
Tailor-made solutions for your farm
For optimal results, we ask our clients to provide us with a list of locally available raw materials so that or nutritionists can make an adequate proposal for a “Taintstop finisher feed” based on these ingredients.
The flexible in-feed option
Taintstop, with linseed and inulin-rich chicory root, is available as a complete feed (Belgium and neighbouring countries) or as a concentrate (distant markets) to be included at a 15% rate in the final feed ration. It should be fed to finishing pigs during 2 weeks before slaughter.
- Is the only proven in-feed solution to reduce both skatole and androstenone levels
- Is the animal-friendly alternative to combat boar taint in uncastrated pigs
- Has natural additives that support digestion and lower the impact on the environment
- Is more cost-effective than either surgical castration or immunocastration
- Helps maintain the excellent feed conversion of entire boars
- Allows tailor made in-feed solutions with locally available raw materials
- Carries no risk for the operator