Molecular signatures of the Greek fauna: black pork tenderloin “from Homer's time”

The Greek Black Pig is a local breed included in the great list of Greek endangered animal species. Although it visually resembles the wild boar, the Greek black pigs is a domesticated pig race. It is the oldest known breed of pigs in Greece and descriptions of this animal can be found in Homer’s Odyssey and other ancient texts.

Through its participation in the transnational European program «QUBIC – Animal Breeding: Quality Biodiversity Innovation Competitiveness», started in 2009 and completed in February 2012, the Institute of Applied Biosciences achieved to save the Greek black pig by alerting experts and the general public alike to the quality of the meat and its production capabilities. The central idea of QUBIC was the conservation of both the animal biodiversity and the area where they live, in order to sustain farms in areas where processed meat products are part of the traditional cuisine and culture.

This was achieved by the involvement of stakeholders from the entire Mediterranean basin, the organization of meetings and events, training seminars in production and manufacturing processes and finally by creating a communication network where knowledge and experiences are exchanged. For Greece, a critical aspect concerned the participation of Greek farmers, delicatessen butchers and representatives of public authorities in visits to Sicily and Parma where the exchange of experience were exemplary for the Greek representatives. So, now, next to the Spanish jamon and the Italian prosciutto, actions are in progress to produce the ancient “Melan Akrokolion”, as ham from black pigs used to be named in ancient Greece.

To ensure product quality and authenticity, the Institute of Applied Biosciences – CERTH not only documented the genetic relatedness of Greek black pigs with other races, work recently  published in the scientific press, but went a step beyond by creating a DNA-based identity of Greek black pigs that can be used to certify the authenticity of meat products and, thus, offering producers and consumers an innovative and unique tool that can guarantee the origin of the meat products.

Contact Info

- Dr. Anagnostis Argiriou [+30.2310 498475 / E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr]

- Amalia Drosou [+30. 2310 498264, +30.2310 498214 / E-mail: press@certh.gr / www.certh.gr]