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Animal fat: a zootechnical approach

Adipose tissue which is present in different anatomical sites, constitutes the main organ of energy storage in animals. It is therefore an essential element of animal biology, which cannot be considered independently of growth in the broad sense: growth itself and development, the progressive realization of the adult state, whose characteristics underlie the notion of precocity. This applies in particular to the deposition of fat, the rapidity of which depends to a great extent on genetic type and sex. Among the genetic parameters of this deposit, the genetic correlation shows an opposition between maternal qualities (QM) and aptitude for meat production (AB), and also between growth and muscular development on the one hand, and adiposity on the other hand. It is therefore understandable how, for more than a century in specialized breeds, selection on the rate of growth and conformation of beef has contributed to thinning the carcasses, in accordance with a social demand for which fat represents an intruder, even though it is an essential factor of the sensory qualities of meat. But the "hunting of fat" has its limits: in pigs as in cattle, the industry has become alarmed by the leanness of the carcasses. To overcome this, genomic selection, despite its cost, opens promising prospects, especially in cattle.

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