Pigs. Photo credit: Sam Michel. Flickr.

Background

The competitiveness of European agri-food production relies on the efficient and sustainable use of resources. The essential element phosphorus (P) is a finite resource but is not used efficiently in agriculture yet global food demand is increasing rapidly along with population growth. The EU imports 90% of its mineral P which creates vulnerability to shocks in the global mineral P supply chain and this could jeopardize EU food security. Reaching sustainability and resilience in the P cycle will require addressing multiple aspects including changes in P-use efficiency in animals and plants, P losses from manure management and the role of micro-organisms in influencing P availability and storage in soils, all with a multidisciplinary approach. PEGaSus has been developed to tackle these issues and to strive for improving sustainability and efficiency regarding P use with an emphasis on monogastrics since pigs and chicken contribute to global food security but are major P excretors and sources of P losses.

Project aims

The strategic objective of PEGaSus is to contribute to resource-efficient and economically competitive animal production systems by; identifying strategies for increasing the bioavailability, digestibility and efficiency of plant-derived P by monogastrics so as to reduce P supplements; reducing P losses and emissions from pig and chicken husbandry targeting benefits for animal health, welfare, and the environment; developing technical, policy and governance strategies to minimize P discharges from farms, P in runoff from soil and subsequent enrichment in aquatic ecosystems.

 

Partner institutions in the project

Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), Germany

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), United Kingdom

Aarhus University (AU), Denmark

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Sweden

Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC), Italy

 

Components of the phosphorus cycle in animal husbandry including fodder, soil, manure and phosphorus losses.