When it comes to allergies, pigs are not much different than people. Young piglets and other animals suffer from adverse reactions to soy, leading to a research project to understand the full impact of feeding soy.

In doing so, research funded by the United Soybean Board, National Pork Board and QUALISOY can uncover ways to improve U.S. soybean varieties and soybean meal.

Feeding soy-based rations to early weaned pigs has sometimes led to reduced feed intake and slower growth rates due to sensitivity to certain proteins in soybean meal. Reactions to proteins have been linked to the development of anti-soy protein antibodies and intestinal problems. One way to fix this may be to reduce or eliminate those reactive proteins. One mechanism to achieve this involves silencing genes that are coded for the problem proteins.

“The goal of this project was to develop a model system with which to study immune-mediated allergic responses to legume allergens,” reports Niels Nielsen, professor of crop science at North Carolina State University. “If we are successful in reducing the hypersensitivity in piglets, we could benefit the soybean industry by permitting higher inclusion rates for soybean meal in rations and reducing production expenses for swine producers.”

For more information, vist United Soybean.