Enhanced hemoglobin production in neonatal piglets with FCP, a low molecular weight iron chelate

Award Information
Department of Agriculture
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
250 QUADE DR, CARY, NC, 27513-7402
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Deanna Nelson
Chief Scientific Officer
(919) 678-9478
Business Contact:
Deanna Nelson
(919) 678-9478
Research Institution:

The modernization of the US swine industry has been critical to the sustainability and global competitiveness of US swine production. At the same time, modernization has also required dramatic changes in animal management. By housing pigs indoors, producers have caused the unintended problem of iron deficiency anemia in neonatal pigs. This problem has been further exacerbated by advances in genetics and nutrition, which resulted in faster growth rates and efficiency of growth. In order to prevent anemia in neonatal pigs, therefore, all U.S. producers use injectable iron dextran. While the use of any injectable raises concerns for meat animal production, recent shortfalls in iron dextran supplies have added tremendously to the burden on U.S. swine producers. As a result, there is a significant unmet need for a safe and effective substitute for iron dextran. An orally administered iron product that was safe and effective in preventing anemia in neonatal pigs would be ideal. The proposed SBIR Phase I research consists of two pivotal studies that will assess key attributes of the low molecular weight iron chelate, sodium ferricitropyrophosphate (FCP), as an oral iron nutrient and the importance of lactoferrin/transferrin iron delivery systems in the intestine to support hemoglobin production and rapid growth in neonatal piglets. Proposed Study 1 is an in vitro study of the efficiency of transfer of iron from FCP to lactoferrin. Preliminary data indicate the transfer will occur rapidly and effectively, saturating the iron-binding capacity of the protein. In Proposed Study 2, we will assess the ability of FCP, supplied in sow's milk formula, to provide sufficient iron to maintain hemoglobin levels in neonatal pigs. The data will identify, for the first time, the bioavailability of FCP to neonatal pigs and will enable estimate of the overall iron absorptive capacity of the neonates. In addition, the data will enable comparison of the iron delivery capabilities of FCP with the capabilities of iron dextran and other iron fortificants. Preliminary data suggest that robust hemoglobin production and rapid, sustained growth will be observed after administration of FCP to neonates in this way. The proposed SBIR Phase 1 research is expected to verify that providing iron as FCP in sow's milk formulas will more effectively support both the hemoglobin concentration and rapid growth of the neonatal pig, while substantially reducing the need for iron dextran injections, injections which contribute to the expenses of both veterinary care and labor. In addition, use of FCP is expected to result in a decreased risk of disease transmission and enhanced biosecurity, since administration of FCP is not expected to require exposure of piglets to either used needles or pen-to-pen transmission of pathogens. Phase 2 research will extend applicability to large swine herds by employing special FCP-containing feeds provided in neonatal feeders to eliminate manual labor. In summary, if the expected results are obtained, the United States will not only maintain its competitive leadership but will also lead other hog-producing nations to more effective resource utilization.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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