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.”
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.