AFBI hosts International Expert meeting on the efficiency of phosphorus use in pigs and poultry

Date published: 09 December 2019

Area of Expertise:

Improving the efficiency of phosphorus use in pigs and broiler chickens is a key challenge being addressed by AFBI within an EU funded research project entitled, PEGaSUS: phosphorus efficiency in Gallus gallus and Sus scrofa: Bridging the gaps in the phosphorus value chain.

Dr Elizabeth Ball, AFBI hosts EU research consortium on phosphorus use in pigs and broiler chickens

As a partner within PEGaSUS, AFBI Hillsborough recently hosted the bi-annual consortium meeting of the project which included scientists from Stockholm Environmental Institute, Sweden, Leibniz Institute of Farm Animal Biology, Germany and University Piacenza, Italy.

At the meeting, Dr Elizabeth Ball and Dr Ramon Muns from AFBI discussed recent research findings from PEGaSUS with project partners and planned the next stage of the work, especially a seminar which is planned for 2020 to deliver the findings of the project to industry.

Phosphorus (P) is a necessary component for life and while there are finite resources of P, it  is  recyclable. However, it is not used or reused efficiently in agriculture production or in our food and waste systems. Monogastrics such as pigs and poultry are particularly inefficient in the digestion of plant derived P as they lack the ability to naturally digest plant P. These animals are therefore sources of P losses via excreta, which can have detrimental effects on soils and water systems.

Improvements to P efficiency in monogastrics may have the potential to improve animal product yields, while also reducing negative environmental impacts of nutrient run-off. Through the collaboration of AFBI and research partners from across Europe, with expertise in animal biology, social ecology and economics, Project PEGaSus addresses the sustainability and efficiency of P-use in animals and plants, P-losses from manure management and the role of microorganisms in influencing P-availability and storage in soils.

The overall aim of the project is to maintain sufficient supplies of high quality pig and poultry products from resource-efficient and economically competitive production systems that have minimum environmental impact.

For further details on PEGaSus, information can be found on the project website

Notes to editors: 

AFBI carries out high quality technology research and development, statutory, analytical, and diagnostic testing functions for DAERA and   other Government departments, public bodies and commercial companies.

AFBI's Vision  is “Advancing the Local and Global Agri-Food Sectors Through Scientific Excellence”.

AFBI's core areas:
            - Leading improvements in the agri food industry;
            - Protecting animal, plant and human health;
            - Enhancing the natural and marine environment.

All media enquiries to AFBI Press Office

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