November 10, 2008
Joint research in China and Canada's Alberta aims to put an enzyme in rapeseed feed to improve livestock's uptake of phosphate, lowering its levels in manure and keeping it out of waterways and groundwater.
The Alberta government pledged US$919,500, on top of US$134,000 from Alberta industries and organizations, and US$347,000 from the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission and Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China, in cash and in-kind contributions toward work on modifying North American rapeseed to contain phytase.
Too much phosphate in soil, through urban or rural sources, has been found to disrupt the food chain by causing algae bloom in water through erosion and leaching, leading to eutrophication in lakes and rivers as local fish species are choked out.
Studies with hogs in Canada and elsewhere have shown that phytase supplements in feed barley-based diets increase the digestibility of phosphorus, leaving less to be excreted in manure to make its way into the water table or wash into waterways.
Their rapeseed research projects address improving human and animal health and developing new industrial uses for oilseed crops, said ARC CEO John McDougall in the province's release. This project could lead to greater market share for rapeseed producers in Alberta and China.