Feed additives

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Safe and solid use of organic trace minerals

Nutritionists often choose organic trace 
minerals as a way to assure sufficient trace 
mineral availability, absorption and use. According to Pancosma, studies have proven that the organic form is more bioavailable and can even improve zootechnical results.

By Emmy Koeleman

For many years, animal diets 
have been supplemented with essential trace minerals such as copper (Cu), iron (Fe), iodine (I), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn). 
The objective of supplementation with 
trace minerals is to avoid a variety of deficiency diseases. Trace minerals carry out key functions in relation to many metabolic processes, most notably as catalysts for enzymes and hormones, and are essential for optimum health, growth and productivity. When animal diets are supplemented with trace minerals, the choice for the mineral source has to be made; organic or inorganic? Inorganic trace minerals come as sulphates, oxides, carbonates or chlorides. The commercially produced organic trace minerals mainly are produced as ‘chelates’, meaning a protective chemical bond between a mineral and an appropriate organic compound (ligand) is made.

There are different types of chelates on the market, using different ligands for example. Some minerals are chelated with short-chain peptides and amino acids derived from hydrolysed soy proteins. Other producers use amino acids to chelate the mineral (these products are called glycinates or methionates). Studies have shown that animals absorb, digest and use mineral chelates better than inorganic minerals. In other words, they have a greater bioavailability as compared to the inorganic form, although large variations may exist depending on the type of mineral and the producer. The bioavailability of a mineral, its relative availability to the animal, is determined by its interaction with other minerals or dietary components. The more bioavailable a mineral becomes, the lower the dietary concentration needed to attain a given level of absorption and the less mineral excreted to the environment. Increased bioavailability has a twofold benefit of reducing feed costs and minimising nutrient 
build-up in the soil. Other advantages of commercially produced organic trace minerals is that they are protected from interactions with antagonists in the digestive system. Interactions should be avoided as it can make the organic minerals unavailable to the animal. Inorganic trace minerals also chemically react among themselves and high levels of one inorganic trace mineral can decrease the availability and use.

Encapsulation technique

The Swiss based company Pancosma produces organic trace minerals that are chelated with the amino acid glycine. “Based on the special structure we have (protected by several patents), we were able to show that our form was also the most stable (and therefore the most interesting for animal nutrition). Using glycine was the ligand that in our view was the best compromise, from a chemical, nutritional and economical point of view,” explains Ewenn Helary, product manager at Pancosma. The organic minerals are produced in a state-of-the-art facility (built in 2009), by using the spouted bed granulation technology. Helary: “We have developed and patented the use of this granulation technology for the production of organic trace minerals and there are several advantages of spouted bed granulation compared to the more traditional used methods. One of them is that we can granulate the product. This creates a product with homogeneous particle size and homogeneous and low moisture content. This makes the product easy and safe to handle, and it is also more stable over time. Indeed, several studies have highlighted the superior stability of our specific organic minerals in powder, water, premixes and feed, gut and at different pH levels. This is reflected in high quality organic minerals.”

Scientific proof

To show the benefits of using organic minerals, several studies have been carried out over the years. The University of Berlin for example, compared the effects of different iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) sources (sulphates, chelates, glycinates) on their bioavailability in early weaned piglets. The two tested organic trace mineral sources, especially the crystalline glycinates*, could provide higher safety bands especially for animals with high mineral requirements but low feed intake capacity like early weaned piglets. In 2004, a 
study led by the North Carolina State University focused on the bioavailability of minerals in ruminants. In this study, 24 steers were used to determine the effects of dietary zinc (Zn) level and source on Zn metabolism. The steers supplemented with an organic source zinc had higher liver Zn concentrations at the end of a 42 day repletion period than steers supplemented with ZnSO4 or Zn methionate. Apparent absorption and retention of Zn tended to be higher for steers supplemented with the organic form.

Reduced levels possible

Research has shown that organic trace minerals have the ability to be readily utilised by animals. So is it also possible to reduce the levels of organic trace minerals supplied? Pancosma therefore commissioned a few studies to find out. A study by the University of Wroclaw (Poland) has looked at the impact of reduced trace mineral supplementation to sows using organic forms. Sows were equally allocated to three dietary treatments on their insemination day (artificial insemination; semen from one boar for all sows): "Control": inorganic trace mineral supplementation at common practice levels. "Chelate": reduced trace mineral supplementation partially replaced with organic soy-based chelates. "Organic trace minerals* (OTM)": reduced trace mineral supplementation partially replaced with organic glycine-based 
complexes. 
The authors concluded that by reducing the Cu, Mn and Zn supplementation using organic trace minerals in gestating and lactating sows, did not negatively affect their performance nor their offspring. On the contrary, the treatments Chelate and OTM even increased sow's success of artificial insemination 30 days after farrowing. The offspring from sows fed OTM were heavier at birth, which induced less removals. In 2011, a study was conducted in broilers to check if a combination of metal-glycinate complexes* (Cu, Zn, Mn, Fe) could beneficially replace inorganic sources and modify carcass quality even in adequate to high trace mineral concentrations. On day 47, carcass quality of broilers was measured. Dressing percentage was improved in organic treatment, drumsticks percentage was improved when using organic trace elements. In the same study, the productivity index was calculated for both treatments. The results show that the production index was increased by 6.4% for animals fed with organic minerals. Helary: “These studies show that it is not only possible to improve the bioavailability of minerals but also to expect a strong return on investment and concrete 
benefits for end-users.”

*B-TRAXIM®2C

References are available on request

[Source: AllAboutFeed magazine Vol 22 nr 3, 2014]

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