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New revelations on virus survivability in feed ingredients

Photo courtesy of David Geiger

Research suggests live viruses can withstand transoceanic transport. Feed ingredients, such as conventional soybean meal, lysine and Vitamin D, tested positive for being a carrier of certain viruses. 

New research suggests viability of viruses in feed may be less than previously indicated.

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), National Pork Board (NPB), National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) researched ways to prevent foreign animal diseases transmitted through feed and feedstuffs.

Organizations first measured viability by the half-life. A half-life is the time it takes for natural degradation of virus components, according to Swine Health Information Center executive director Dr. Paul Sundberg.

“Over a certain period of time, half of it will be gone and naturally degrade,” Sundberg said. “Then half of the half will be gone, so it will continue to go down. Based on initial research, with the survivability of these viruses in feed components, we were able to calculate an estimated half life. That half life was then used to calculate a projected holding time.”

The holding time would allow for almost complete, 99.9-percent, degradation of the virus. South Dakota State University conducted the latest studies, which suggest decreased holding times for ingredients, such as vitamins and amino acid.

“Soybean meal and DDGS, which we continue to import from areas of the world, which have African Swine Fever (ASF), have the longest holding time. That’s an important differentiation of products, such as vitamins and amino acids,” Sundberg said.

The latest research can be found at www.swinehealth.org.