Latest Research Reports

latest research reviews

SAPPO commissioned a number of researchers to conduct literature reviews on subjects related to pig production. Click here to downlaod the reports or order them from SAPPO at 012-361 3920 or at

Review of African Swine Fever; transmission, spread and control
By Mary-Louise Penrith and Wilna Vosloo

African swine fever (ASF) is a highly fatal viral disease of domestic pigs that manifests as a haemorrhagic fever and can kill up to 100% of pigs affected (Penrith et al. 2004a). To date all efforts to produce a vaccine against ASF have failed. New developments in the field of molecular research have provided hope that a vaccine may be possible (Chang et al. 2006, Dixon et al. 2004, Lewis et al. 2000). However, alarming spread of ASF in recent years has demonstrated the immediate need for a constructive approach to prevention and control, without waiting for a vaccine to be developed. The purpose of this review is to describe events that prove the ability of ASF to spread rapidly across borders and over long distances, to examine the ways in which ASF is transmitted and the factors that facilitate its spread, and to consider the options for prevention and control, with particular reference to the South African situation. Recent developments in the search for a vaccine will be reviewed briefly.

A review of the causes and control of boar taint
By Stefan Guizot

Boar taint could, at the present time, be a greater problem in First World countries with well educated consumers who can afford to be selective about the type of meat it will eat. Numerous studies on the effect of castration of male pigs have suggested that large economic advantages would result from the rearing of intact male pigs for meat production if the problem of boar taint could be circumvented. The researcher concludes that it is possible that the presence of boar taint in South African pork could be hampering the growth in consumption of pork and as such needs urgent attention.

The use of prebiotics and probiotics in pigs
By Dr Louise Maré

During the last few decades, research on probiotics has expanded beyond bacteria isolated from fermented dairy products to normal microbiota of the intestinal tract. Some of the problems that remain to be solved include the mode of action of probiotics, dose-response relationship, better knowledge of the importance of adhesion, the chemical nature of the receptor sites of different probiotic strains and retaining viability. The researcher concludes that specific conditions where probiotics can be incorporated, as alternatives to antibiotics need to be determined and production costs kept low for these products to become more attractive to the farmer.

Mycotoxins in pigs: A South African perspective
By Dr Hannes Viljoen

Mycotoxins are a relatively large, diverse group of naturally occurring, fungal toxins, many of which have been strongly implicated as chemical agents of toxic disease in humans and animals. They are unavoidable contaminants in foods and feeds and are a major problem all over the world. The researcher concludes that producers who are aware of the problem, and have a regular programme to control it, will ultimately make a greater success in animal productivity and economic return than those who choose to wait until disaster strikes.

The use of plants as ethno-veterinary medical replacements for antibiotic growth promoters
By Jessica  Matchett

The European Union ban on dietary inclusions of antibiotic growth promoting substances in the production of livestock has led to an emerging field of research – the use of predominantly plant-based alternatives to said antibiotic products. This review seeks to place this research into context within the South African pork production sector.  Findings on both ethnomedicinal remedies and ethnoveterinary remedies are presented, from South African sources, African sources and other global regions. Whilst the main emphasis would be on South African plant species, a gap in the research means that the review has had to incorporate research from other areas.