Pig urine contains high volumes of phosphorous that runs off into water supplies. When the phosphorous collects in lakes, streams, etc. algae grows and depletes the oxygen levels of the water. This creates areas wear fish cannot survive (Rao). The food’s given to pigs contain a type of phosphorous that is indigestible to pigs, which means most of the phosphorous is being excreted. To battle this problem, pig farmers feed their pigs an enzyme that aids in breaking down the phosphorous, allowing pigs to get necessary nutrients and reducing run off (Rao).
Researchers believe that if the enzyme was created in the pigs body–rather than ingested–it would be more effective in breaking down phosphorous. So effective that it would reduce the amount excreted by 65 percent (Rao). Pigs producing the enzyme naturally would be able to digest phosphorus to get key nutrients and would excrete less phosphorous, which means their would be less in the water supply.
The researchers who created these new pigs say it will not only help the environment, but will reduce the cost of feed. The new pigs could also help farmers comply with the zero discharge rules that prevent farmers from producing run off (Rao).
These genetically modified animals are not going to be widespread just yet. Further research must be done to assure the safety of consuming meat from the pig. If approved, these new pigs will help reduce environmental hazards and cost to farmers.