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Measure of olfactory nuisance associated with pig breeding

INRA Prod.Anim. 21(4), 361-366


1 INRA, UR 370 Qualité des produits animaux, F-63122 Saint Genès-Champanelle, France

2 INRA, UMR 1079 Systèmes d’Elevage, Nutrition Animale et Humaine, F-35590 Saint-Gilles, France


This paper summarises the contribution of the « Porcherie verte » programme in the development of methods that measure olfactory nuisance. Indeed, for the public, olfactory nuisance is associated with pig breeding and is a limiting factor to its development. Two approaches, one sensorial and the other instrumental, were used conjointly. The sensorial approach was aimed at developing a method for appreciating piggery odours that is at a different location (the jury does not have to be on the site), less difficult than the official method using diluted air samples and that considers the quality of the odours. Petri dishes containing lipid phases were exposed to the air in piggeries and were then submitted to olfactory approval by a jury of 10 people from the laboratory. The notes of the jury were well correla-ted with the in situ olfactory appreciation of the person having taken the samples. The breeding situations are classified in the following decreasing order of intensity : post-weaning and fattening on wood slats>gestation on wood slats>litter.

In order to correct for the inconvenience associated with the subjective character of sensorial analysis, an instrumental approach was used to develop a sampling method (solid phase micro extraction) and analysis of volatile components entrapped in the solid phase (mass spectrometry). The spectra obtained allow the differentiation of the breeding situations as explained above and satisfactorily predict (R2=0.92) the results of the olfactory appreciation of a jury from the laboratory.

The methodological improvements made within the framework of this study show that it is possible to measure and characterise odours from piggeries in a very simple and rapid way. However, these methods have only been tested on relatively concentrated air inside piggeries. Their validity for outside air remains to be shown.

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