The University of Nottingham has secured funding from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to undertake a four-year project with Zoetis, the leading global animal health company, with the aim of improving feed efficiency in pig farming.
This new project builds on an ongoing partnership between The University of Nottingham and Zoetis and will focus on studies to help maximize muscle growth and improve the health of pig herds on farms. Funding for the research initiative will be in excess of GBP800,000 (US$1.2 million), including the contribution from Zoetis.
John Brameld, associate professor in nutritional biochemistry at The University of Nottingham and principal investigator, said: "We are very excited to be partnering with Zoetis on such a significant research project which could potentially help to benefit farmers across the globe."
"Improving feed efficiency in farm animals such as pigs is becoming increasingly important in order to ensure their healthy growth and development, and also to help provide an increasing supply of high quality meat that the world’s expanding population requires."
The project will bring together the muscle growth and metabolism expertise of Dr. Tim Parr and Dr. John Brameld, both from the University’s School of Biosciences , the pig muscle cell culture specialisms of Dr. Paul Loughna in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science and the whole body physiology skills of Professor Fran Ebling in the School of Life Sciences.
It is also anticipated that staff from The University of Nottingham and Zoetis will spend time working within each other’s laboratories, increasing opportunities for the exchange of knowledge, technology and expertise.
Douglas Harris, senior principal scientist in global therapeutics research for Zoetis, added: "This agreement gives us the opportunity to continue to build upon and strengthen the swine enhanced performance research partnership we’ve had with the exceptional staff at the University of Nottingham. We’re excited about the scientific advances that could arise from the exchange of talent between our organizations and the contributions we can collectively make towards improving global food security."
Pork is the world’s most widely consumed meat. Over 110 million metric tons of pork is eaten annually, accounting for almost 40 percent of the world’s meat consumption. With the world’s population forecast to grow by a further 2 billion people by 2050, and the associated increase in the world demand for meat, improving the efficiency of animal growth is becoming ever more important globally.