JSR Genetics is using new image analysis software, BioSoft ToolBox II, to analyze ultrasound scans from live animals in order to determine intra muscular fat levels, the trait that determined flavor, tenderness and succulence in pig meat, according to the company. This technology will allow for meat with more marbling without adding back fat, an ideal situation for producers.

The new scanner software, developed by Biotronics Inc. of Iowa in conjunction with Iowa State University, uses texture analysis technology enabling it to accurately measure intra muscular fat in the loin muscle of living animals. “In genetic terms, being able to scan live animals, and therefore actively select for IMF without excess back fat, is far quicker than having to wait until slaughter to score animals," said Dr. Grant Walling, JSR's managing director. "It means boars go into our AI studs with IMF measurement on both them and their relatives."

New applications for Biotronic’s software are also being investigated.  “Developments are already underway, for example, looking at how this IMF software can be integrated into the slaughterhouse line,” said Stephen Waite, JSR's head of science. “By quickly identifying specific levels of loin marbling in carcasses, the scanner will enable carcasses to be directed towards high meat eating quality lines. That way both processors and producers will benefit from the sale of higher quality pigs.”