Genetic Opportunities tyo Enhance Sustainability of Pork Production in Developing Countries: A Model for Food Animals

  • Cecil W. Forsberg
  • Serguei P. Golovan
  • Ayodele Ajakaiye
  • John P. Phillips
  • Roy G. Meidinger
  • Ming Z. Fan
  • John M. Kelly
  • Roger R. Hacker


Currently there is a shortage of food and potable water in many developing countries. Superimposed upon this critical situation, because of the increasing urban wealth in these countries, there is a strong trend of increased consumption of meat, and pork in particular. The consequence of this trend will be increased agricultural pollution, resulting not only from greater use of chemical fertilizer, but also from manure spread on land as fertilizer that may enter freshwater and marine ecosystems causing extensive eutrophication and decreased water quality. The application of transgenic technologies to improve the digestive efficiency and survival of food animals, and simultaneously decreasing their environmental impact is seen as an opportunity to enhance sustainability of animal agriculture without continued capital inputs. Transgenes expressed in pigs that have potential include, for example, genes coding for phytase, lactalbumin and lactoferrin. At the University of Guelph, Escherichia coli phytase has been expressed in the salivary glands of the pig. Selected lines of these pigs utilize plant phytate phosphorus efficiently as a source of phosphorus and excrete faecal material with more than a 60 percent reduction in phosphorus content. Because of their capacity to utilize plant phytate phosphorus and to produce less polluting manure they have a valuable trait that will contribute to enhanced sustainability of pork production in developing countries, where there is less access to either high quality phosphate supplement or phytase enzyme to include in the diet. Issues that require continued consideration as a prelude to the introduction of transgenic animals into developing countries include food and environmental safety, and consumer acceptance of meat products from genetically modified animals.


Phytic Acid Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Food Animal Phytase Activity Bone Meal 
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Copyright information

© IAEA 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecil W. Forsberg
    • 1
  • Serguei P. Golovan
    • 2
  • Ayodele Ajakaiye
    • 2
  • John P. Phillips
    • 3
  • Roy G. Meidinger
    • 3
  • Ming Z. Fan
    • 2
  • John M. Kelly
    • 4
  • Roger R. Hacker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Biology and GeneticsUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  3. 3.Department of Animal and Poultry ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  4. 4.MaRS Landing, Medical and Related SciencesUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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