Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Chinese develop enhanced enviropig

Building on research pioneered at the University of Guelph, Chinese researchers have developed pigs with added genes to produce enzymes that make more efficient use of phosphorous and nitrogen in their diets.

Mingzhe Fan was a Guelph university scientist who worked on the original project with Dr. Cecil Forsberg. Fan is now collaborating with Chinese researchers on the new transgenic pig.

As with Guelph's Enviro-pig, the Chinese team has altered the salivary glands to produce more phytase, so the animals can extract more phosphorous from feed, reducing both costs and water pollution because the manure contains less phosphorous.

The strategy for reducing algae blooms in the Great Lakes relies heavily on reducing phosphorous.

In a research paper, the Chinese team says “we established stable transgenic pig lines that co-expressed NSP (non-starch polysaccharides) degrading enzymes and phytase in saliva.” 

Feeding trials indicate that phorphorous in the manure was reduced by 23 per cent and nitrogen by 45 per cent and that the growth rate of the transgenic pigs was 23 to 24 per cent better.

This genetic strategy offers a very valuable biological solution for inefficient feed digestion and environmental emissions due to the global expansion of the livestock industry,” the scientists wrote.

The Chinese authorities have yet to decide whether they will allow the technology to be used by farmers.

The Enviro-Pig faced so many government demands that the university and the Ontario Pork marketing board gave up.