Fewer antibiotics with protein enriched milk
The search for ways to promote growth of farm animals without adding
antibiotics to feed has led scientists in Taiwan to an advance toward
genetically engineering animals that produce higher levels of a natural
growth-promoting protein in their milk.
In a study scheduled for publication in the June 13 issue of ACS's Journal of
Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Winston T. K. Cheng and colleagues point out
that the protein, lactoferrin (LF), has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory
actions and may serve as an alternative to antibiotics in agriculture. The
researchers genetically engineered laboratory mice to produce milk enriched in
pig LF, and studied the growth of 10 generations of mice pups fed on the milk.
Mice fed LF-enriched milk grew 10-15% faster than those fed on ordinary
More resistant pigs
Supplementing the diet of
neonatal pigs with porcine LF may decrease mortality rates of piglets due to
diarrhea and anemia by rendering them more resistant to common infectious
agents, the report states.
Transgenic animals expressing the LF protein in
the mammary gland and secreting high levels of LF in the milk may be generated
to produce a whole new herd of diarrhea- and anemia-resistant piglets with
better growth performance and commercial value.
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