Mushrooms are the answer to healthier guts in pigs!
Pigs are an important part of our agricultural economy so it’s bad news when they get sick. Are there any natural, sustainable remedies that can help pigs? This was discussed in our workshop in Airfield Estate on Wednesday 20th October as part of Bioeconomy Ireland Week. Our researchers, PhD students Alison Dowley and Eadaoin Conway, were joined by AgriAware to run “Gut Health; it’s a pig deal!” to a 6th class school group.
Mushrooms are a healthy and natural food product grown in Ireland that has been shown to help make pigs guts healthier! Mushrooms can be naturally enriched with vitamin D which helps improve pig gut health by enhancing digestion in the small intestine through objects called villi which improves gut health in pigs. What’s even better is that these mushrooms fed to pigs can be waste mushrooms from mushroom farms, which turns them into a value-added product. Improved gut health from mushrooms also has huge potential for humans, as pig and human guts are similar as we both have monogastric guts that function similarly.
The students investigated mushrooms and mushroom powder, and learnt about how they help pigs guts in an interactive workshop that involved them pretending their hands were guts absorbing food! After the workshop the students were given a tour for of the Airfield Estate farm where they could see pigs in real life!