Lectin from beans for successful weaning
Weaning is a problematic time for pigs, especially in intensive production. A
radical solution has been found by using a lectin obtained from the red kidney
bean plant (Phaseolus vulgaris). The technique should have major cost
benefits for pig producers.
This new solution has been developed by the project
EUREKA project E! 2675 'healthy weaning'. The plant-based product stimulates the
maturing of the digestive tract in pigs. This helps the piglets' adapt and
significantly increases chances of successful weaning.
coordinator, Professor Stefan Pierzynowski of Lund University, Sweden, explains:
"Giving this new factor, which we call SuilektinÂ®, for a short, specific period
before weaning stimulates the digestive tract to reach maturity faster. This
helps it to change from the digestive and absorptive needs of milk, to those of
an adult diet."
Weaning at 28
The study showed that giving the lectin to piglets at 11 to
12 days old greatly enhanced successful weaning at 28 days. This result was
achieved by accelerating the production of mature intestinal cells, able to cope
effectively with the weaning diet.
During the project, field trials
determined the optimal timing and dose, together with the best consistency and
method of administration; and the results analysed the animals' performance and
the economic impact of the technique.
Reach the market
"We are very interested in finding a
producer for Suilektin, and it could reach the market very soon. It will be both
cheap and very effective," says Pierzynowski.
Since the project was
completed in October 2005, the project partners have filed two patents on their
process and have received considerable interest from potential producers. A
current consortium is actively working on behalf of the former EUREKA project
partners to set up arrangements for production.
How soon the product
reaches the market will be linked with the full implementation of the EU
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