|Research area||Contributing to a more sustainable and animal welfare minded food production|
|Research topic||Improving sustainability and animal welfare in aquaculture and husbandry|
|Species||Pig (Sus scrofa domesticus)|
The research goal is to investigate whether cortisol in hair of pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) is a valuable biomarker for chronic stress. This forms the foundation for the future development of a biosensor which can be used on farms or in slaughter houses for a quick, easy and cheap way to determine cortisol in the hair of pigs. Hair as a matrix is easy and non-invasive to sample. Hence it is possible to evaluate the stress level and more broader the animal welfare over an extended period of time in an objective, animal-friendly but also logistically and financially feasible way on a large scale.
Keywords: husbandry, pig, stress, cortisol, hair
Funding: Belgian Federal Government, Department for Public Health, Safety of the Food Chain and the environment (FOD-RF12/6257)
Ghent University (Aerts J, De Saeger S, Van Poucke C)
Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Aerts J, Sonck B)
Vandenhove E. Master thesis: Cortisol as biomarker for stress – optimization and validation of an immunochemical method. Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium, 2011.
Schoutteten L. Master thesis: Determination of chronic stress across matrices and species: validation of a UPLC-MS/MS method for glucocorticoids in water and applicability of hair cortisol in pigs. Faculty of Bioengineering Sciences, Hogeschool Ghent, Belgium, 2014.
Aerts J, Bos E-J, Van Poucke C, Tuyttens F, Sonck B, De Saeger S (2015) Applicability of cortisol in hair of pigs as a long-term indicator of stress for on-site evaluation of animal welfare on pig farms. Scientific report.