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NTU Develops Environmentally-Friendly Pigs

by 5m Editor
13 July 2007, at 9:08am

TAIPEI - Researchers from National Taiwan University have successfully developed transgenic pigs that are herbivores, and produce odorless and pollutant-free manure, an academic said Thursday.

More than 30 "environmentally-friendly" pigs and piglets, which have more efficient digestive tracts, have been produced via genetic engineering by an NTU research team led by Prof. Winston T.K. Cheng.

The NTU transgenic pigs have the ability to secrete large amounts of phytase and cellulase -- two enzymes that could significantly improve pigs' digestion.

With higher amount of phytase and cellulase compounds in their digestive systems, the transgenic pigs could become totally herbivorous, so their feed could entirely consist of plants and vegetables.

A "vegetarian" pig would release manure that would contain less pulp and nearly no indigestible phosphorus -- meaning less pollutants and no odor -- tremendously contributing to environmental protection efforts, said Cheng, who is internationally renowned as the world's first scientist to produce test-tube pigs and sheep.

Cheng produced test-tube pigs and sheep 24 years ago when he was studying at Cambridge University.

Currently, the NTU research team is providing differing diets to those 30-odd pigs and piglets, in an attempt to learn how the animals' manure would vary in pulp and phosphorus contents depending on the amounts of soybean and corn in their feed, according to Cheng.

5m Editor