It seems to be a bit like re-inventing the wheel because Dr. Cecil Forsberg at the University of Guelph demonstrated early this century that genetically engineering pigs so they emit phytase from the salivary glands in their mouth improved feed efficiency.
That research ended going nowhere because it became too expensive to complete research to demonstrate to federal regulators that it is both safe and effective.
DeRouchey said that “by putting phytase into the diet, the pig has the ability to break down more of the phosphorus in its digestive system, absorb it, and use it for growth, feed efficiency and bone integrity.”
Corn and soybean meal – two common ingredients in swine diets – provide only 14 per cent and 30 per cent of available phosphorus, DeRouchey said.
“Thus what the pig is not able to digest, they simply excrete through manure, and that gets applied in the environment,” he said.Reducing phosphorous in hog manure was the main aim in developing the Enviropig at the University of Guelph because it would improve Great Lakes water quality.