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May 5, 2010

Genetically engineered pigs produce 70 percent less phosphorus in their waste.


A new kind of Canadian bacon…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Pig farms flush a lot of phosphorus into the environment, where it can cause harmful algal blooms in lakes, rivers, and oceans. But now, researchers have engineered pigs that excrete 70 percent less phosphorus in their waste. Dubbed the Enviropig, the animal makes an enzyme that breaks down a form of phosphorus in its feed. Microbiologist Steven Liss is associate vice president for research at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

STEVEN LISS (University of Guelph):
Pigs require phosphorus. Farmers would have to supplement normally phosphorus in the diet for the animals to take it up and digest it.

The Enviropig doesn’t require the supplement, lowering cost as well helping the environment. The Canadian government has recently given the Enviropig approval to move out of the lab and toward larger scale production. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.