sealPurdue Pork Research News Tips

February 2001

Ultraviolet light reduces harmful bacteria on pork

Purdue University researchers have found that ultraviolet (UV) light can be used to reduce certain pathogens on the surface of pork. Richard Linton, associate professor of food science, says using UV light might be a good strategy for decreasing food-safety risks and enhancing the shelf life of pork. In his studies, UV light decreased bacteria levels on the surface of meat, including E.coli. He says UV light treatments may be used during pork processing, perhaps while the meat is aging in cold storage. Several companies have picked up on the research. CONTACT: Linton, (765) 494-6481;

Researchers develop computer model
to lower swine feed costs

By using a computer model that Purdue helped develop, pork producers can cut their feed costs by tailoring diets to growth stages and to the type of pigs they raise. "Approximately 60 percent of the cost of pork production goes for feed," says Allan Schinckel, Purdue animal sciences professor. "We conservatively estimate that producers can save an average of $1.50 per pig by using the computer model." He says these tailored diets also can reduce the excretion of nitrogen and phosphorus, which are potential water pollutants. The researchers have developed a growth model that can specify a diet that gives producers the most profitable live weight growth, carcass composition, feed conversion and nutrient excretion for specific pig types. The model was developed working with commercial feed companies, Kansas State Extension specialists and the National Research Council. CONTACT: Schinckel, (765) 494-4836;

National setback guidelines based on Purdue
measures of manure odor

Purdue researchers have made the first-ever odor and gas emission measurements at commercial swine facilities, leading to the first science-based setback guidelines for use in the United States. The odor measurements were conducted with a new odor-evaluation laboratory. "The Purdue-generated information will help settle disputes over setback distances for new livestock facilities," says Albert Heber, professor of agricultural and biological engineering. These measurements of air pollution at the facilities also will be helpful in refining state and national setback regulations. Alternative technologies for reducing odor emissions also have been tested in the laboratory. CONTACT: Heber, (765) 496-1214;

Low-cost feed decreases pollutants and odor in manure

Pigs fed a Purdue-developed, low-protein diet produce manure that contains half as much nitrogen as manure from pigs fed a standard diet. The lower nitrogen levels lessen the chance of nitrogen runoff into streams when manure is spread on farm fields. Objectionable odors also decrease because ammonia emissions drop. "The pigs don't gain weight as easily, but they are leaner, and the new feed costs $3.86 per ton less than standard feed," says Alan Sutton, professor of animal sciences. The feed contains reduced protein levels and is supplemented with synthetic amino acids and soybean hulls. CONTACT: Sutton, (765) 494-8012;

Researchers hoping to improve the quality of bacon

Several Purdue researchers are looking into the effects of supplementing pig diets with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a polyunsaturated fatty acid naturally found in certain types of meat. With the development of leaner lines of pigs, quality problems have occurred because the fat produced on lean pigs may be too soft for use as bacon. CLA has been credited with altering the body composition of animals, creating less, but firmer, fat. Scott Mills, associate professor of animal sciences, is studying how CLA works. "CLA may be one nutrient that improves body composition and pork quality while adding value and profits to the final product," he says. CONTACT: Mills, (765) 494-4845;

Vaccine could give pork producers a 20- to
50-fold return on its cost

With an investment of 10 cents per pig, producers could vaccinate sows against a harmful respiratory disease and save themselves an estimated $5 to $10 per pig, according to findings from a Purdue study. Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae affects nearly every swine herd in the United States. Kirk Clark, professor of swine herd health, says vaccinating sows improves both sow and piglet immunity and helps prevent transfer of the disease from sows to piglets. He says the procedure can only be used in very well managed all-in-all-out or segregated early weaning systems. CONTACT: Clark, (765) 496-9900;

Writer: Beth Forbes, (765) 494-2722;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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