PEGaSus (Phosphorus efficiency in Gallus gallus and Sus scrofa):
Bridging the gaps in the phosphorus value chain

A Project within the Framework

European Research Area NETwork on Sustainable Animal Production (ERA-NET SusAn)

Start date: 1 September 2017

Duration: 36 months

Phosphorus (P) is an irreplaceable component of life and used in all agricultural production systems. PEGaSus focusses on P because it is a finite but recyclable resource which is not efficiently used and reused in agricultural production leading to serious concerns for soil and water ecosystems. PEGaSus is emphasising on monogastrics since pigs and chicken contribute to achieve global food security but are major P excretors and sources of P losses. Balancing the P cycle is crucial towards a P resilient livestock production, comprising P efficiency in animals and plants, P storage in soils, P utilisation of microorganisms, and their interactions. The strategic aim of PEGaSus is to provide solutions to secure sufficient supplies of high quality animal products from resource-efficient and economically competitive agro-systems that are valued by society and preserve soil and water ecosystems. To reach this overall aim, five complementary partners from across Europe with expertise in animal biology, social ecology, and economy collaborate in three work packages, aiming at tracking the fate of P on its ways in fodder, animals, microbiota, slurry, soil, and water. PEGaSus generates improved understanding of the biodiversity of monogastric P utilisation towards both an optimised P supply and highest standards of animal health and welfare in European livestock production. PEGaSus addresses the genotype-phenotype map, i.e. genomic, epigenetic, and transcriptomic variation, and nutritional strategies to reduce P losses which will simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas, and nitrogen emissions. PEGaSus delivers cost-benefit estimations in various farm-, production-, process-, and ecosystems and novel approaches of P management to balance economic and environmental sustainability of the dense but uneven distributed European animal production. By integrating the results, PEGaSus provides knowledge products with far-reaching impact on research and policy communities within the EU.