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 infections.
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 "passive
vaccination" and support the natural immune system of the pig.
on the market in 2010?
According to 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 E. 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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