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Examples: Environmental Impact of Farming

Reduced Phosphorous Pollution by Pigs

To reduce phosphorous pollution in the environment, a team at the University of Guelph in Canada developed the Enviropig™. Pigs require phosphorous in their diet but the majority of the phosphorus present in the cereal grains and oil seeds the pigs eat is in the form of phytate, a compound that pigs cannot digest. Phytate usually passes undigested into manure and is the single most important manure pollutant in the pork industry. Pigs were genetically engineered to express the enzyme phyate in their salivary glands. This enables the pigs to breakdown and use dietary phytate as their source of phosphorus and reduces fecal phosphorous output by 75%. The ability of the Enviropigs™to digest phytate eliminates the need for inorganic phosphorous supplements and helps the sustainability of farming by reducing the environmental impact of farming operations.



Improved Growth in Salmon

Increased growth rates of animals would help to meet the growing demand for protein that is accompanying the increase in the world’s population in the face of climate change and dwindling natural resources. Atlantic salmon have been genetically engineered to produce growth hormone from chinook salmon which enables them to grow year round. These AquaAdvantage™ salmon are able to convert feed into body mass 10%-30% more efficiently thus allowing them to reach market size twice as fast as traditional broodstock (16-18 months instead of 3 years). The AquaAdvantage™ salmon were the first genetically engineered food animal approved for human consumption by the US FDA in 2015. The land-based production system used ensures no mixing of the genetically engineered salmon with wild populations while minimizing the environmental impact of fish farming. The increased feed efficiency displayed by these fish requires less resources to make the same amount of food and decreases the carbon footprint of production.