The Enviropig™ is a genetically enhanced line of Yorkshire pigs with the capability of digesting plant phosphorus more efficiently than conventional Yorkshire pigs. These pigs produce the enzyme phytase in the salivary glands that is secreted in the saliva. When cereal grains are consumed, the phytase mixes with the feed as the pig chews. Once the food is swallowed, the phytase enzyme is active in the acidic environment of the stomach, degrading indigestible phytate in the feed that accounts for 50 to 75% of the grain phosphorus.
Figure 1. Phytase produced in the salivary glands and secreted in the saliva increases the digestion of phosphorus contained in feed grains.
Since the Enviropig™ is able to digest cereal grain phosphorus there is no need to supplement the diet with either mineral phosphate or commercially produced phytase, and there is less phosphorus in the manure. When the phosphorus depleted manure is spread on land in areas of intense swine production there is less potential of phosphorus to leach into freshwater ponds, streams and rivers. Because phosphorus is the major nutrient enabling algal growth that is the leading cause of fish kills resulting from anoxic conditions, and reduced water quality, the low phosphorus manure from Enviropigs has a reduced environmental impact in areas where soil phosphorus exceeds desirable levels. Therefore the enviropig biotechnology has two beneficial attributes, it reduces feed cost and reduces the potential of water pollution. Furthermore, the technology is simple, if you know how to raise pigs, you know how to raise Enviropigs!