Peas fight pig infections
A field trial with genetically modified peas is planned
in Gatersleben, Germany. The peas were developed by Novoplant, a small
enterprise involved in plant biotechnology. If the concept works, the GM-peas
are to be added to pig feed to prevent intestinal
The strategy to use plants as production systems for vaccines or
medicaments is widely researched. Since the ban on antibiotics in feed in the
EU, the feed industry is searching for new products to protect animals from
Novoplant's goal is to create feed plants by introducing suitable genes
in the plant to produce antibodies against certain infections. If these
GM-plants are added to the pig feed, the animal will take in the
antibodies. According to Novoplant, the antibodies in the peas cause a â€œpassive
vaccinationâ€ and support the natural immune system of the pig.
Already on the market in 2010?
managing director, Dieter Falkenburg, the first of these new feed additives
should be marketable by 2010.
The peas have been modified with a complex gene structure to produce
specific antigens. These bind on the surface of Escherichia coli bacteria
, which can cause intestine
infections in pigs. The anti-bodies are formed only in the seeds of the peas,
not in the remaining parts of the plant.
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