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Pig fertility not affected by plant growth regulators

Research results from the University of Aarhus reveal that plant growth regulators in pig feed have no adverse effect on pig fertility.

New results from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences (DJF) at the University of Aarhus reveal no adverse effects on sow or boar fertility. The experiment was carried out in collaboration with Copenhagen University Hospital and the Technical University of Denmark.

- We have not been able to confirm the common conjecture that the plant growth regulator chlormequat, also called CCC, has a detrimental effect on pig reproduction, explains senior scientist Martin Tang Sørensen from the Department of Health, Welfare and Nutrition at DJF.

The study included both boars and sows. The boars were exposed to CCC throughout their lives including the foetal stage, as their mothers were given CCC-enriched feed from the day they were inseminated. After weaning, the boars continued receiving CCC in their feed until the end of the experiment. The intake of CCC by the animals was at the maximum permitted level for humans.

There was no sign of boar semen quality having deteriorated in terms of either sperm count, sperm activity or the ability of the sperm to fertilize compared with the sperm from boars in a control group.

Neither could scientists establish any adverse effects of CCC on sows. Sows that were given CCC-enriched feed throughout their pregnancy produced just as many piglets as the sows in the control group. The sisters to the research animals who were exposed to CCC during the foetal stage when all the ovules are formed, also produced just as many piglets as the control group.

For further information please contact:
Senior scientist Martin Tang Jørgensen, Dept. of Animal Health, Welfare and Nutrition, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Aarhus, telephone: +45 8999 1554, e-mail: [email protected]

Tuesday 10 April 2007 | Communication Unit