Cucumber Industry Could Aid Pig Disease Prevention

UK - Air sampling techniques for early detection of disease in the cucumber growing industry could help indoor pig farmers reduce disease spread.
calendar icon 1 June 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

Speaking at the BPEX Innovation Conference, Alison Wakeham, a senior research scientist at the University of Worcester, explained that rearing pigs in ventilated buildings and growing cucumbers in greenhouses both have challenges with diseases coming in from the external environment.

“Technology that identifies infectious diseases as soon as possible is important to prevent unnecessary losses. So, scientists have developed air sensors that sample the air and alert growers to bio-aerosols that may be carrying disease.”

Alison said that detrimental fungi, viruses, bacteria, pollen and insects, collectively known as bio-aerosols, can cause problems when growing cucumbers in controlled environments.

“While bio-aerosols don’t cause significant issues for cucumbers grown outdoors, in indoor systems they become trapped and this is where the problem starts.

“The damp, warm environment of a greenhouse is the perfect breeding ground for the organisms to grow and disease to spread.”

Air sampling is a technique Alison thinks has potential in the pig industry.

“There are more rapid tests being developed for identifying bio-aerosols and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before this technology is available in the pig sector.”

In the meantime, Alison advised that the biggest change pig producers could make was to improve the sanitation of a unit.

“Clean water, fresh air and cleanliness are all you need for cucumbers to thrive and I’m sure that this is the same for pigs. The environment has to be as clean as possible.”

Further Reading

Go to our previous news item on the innovation event by clicking here.

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