The history of adipocyte and adipose tissue research in meat animals

Gary J. Hausman, Werner G. Bergen, Terry D. Etherton, Steve B. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Research in growth and development, accumulation of lean, and fat metabolism in farm animals was gaining attention principally from a carcass perspective by meat scientists and animal nutritionists about a century ago. Under the auspices of the USDA Cooperative State Research Service, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, and the Land Grant University system, researchers from various universities embarked on forming combined regional research projects (across states) with unifying specific aims. In the North Central region, this included states in the upper and lower Mid-West region. For those interested in improving production and eating quality of meats, initially a single multistate committee was formed in the North Central region which was active for many years. However, these efforts were later split into two committees with one addressing lipids and the other muscle biology. Herein we reviewed research of workers in the North Central region in the 1940s and 1950s and to a limited extent in the 2000s on meat animal’s lipid metabolism. We further reviewed the history of meat animal carcass composition research and the influence of the Word War II (WWII) period on porcine carcass composition. The development and utilization of adipocyte cellularity research methodology in meat animals was demonstrated. The history of the progression of adipose tissue metabolism research in meat animals was also reviewed. Finally, the history of research on lipid deposition in muscle that ultimately precipitated the expanded marbling and the intramuscular research was delineated. By the 1970s, great interest had emerged on how to curtail excessive fat deposition in meat-producing animals. Thus, for some segments of the animal lipid metabolism community, the focus then shifted to exploring the processes of lipogenesis and lipolysis in farm animals. These efforts morphed into research efforts in fat cell biology and cellularity. Today adipocyte biology is studied by many in the biomedical and agricultural-life sciences communities. In this article, we present a history of this research and notable achievements up to the 1980s. Herein we revisit these research efforts and results that have become an important knowledge base for growth and development, nutrition, and meat science research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-486
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'The history of adipocyte and adipose tissue research in meat animals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this