Half the copper trace mineral added to pig, cattle and poultry diets in the United States comes out of Micronutrients’ Indianapolis plant. However, disappearing source of raw material is forcing it to turn to zinc product.
To safeguard future supplies of minerals, the US company
is working to find other trace minerals the company can produce that don’t rely
on copper etching juice.
Steward, a chemist who grew up and was schooled in Pennsylvania, is a key
part of this search for new products, as is production manager Nick Leisure.
They hope the same chemical tinkering used to invent their copper chloride
product will apply in developing better zinc, manganese and iron compounds to
add to animal feed. And they have high hopes of coming out with essential trace
minerals for human use, too.
confident Micronutrients can wield its scientific know-how to produce a family
of trace minerals in forms that are easier to mix with feed and have better
absorption in the body.
The company’s work on a zinc chloride is far
enough along that it already is selling small batches to one customer. Full
commercial production for the zinc additive could begin next year. It would
require building a new plant, probably in Indianapolis, Steward says.
thinks a manganese additive for feed could be ready in 2009, with an iron
additive available in 2010 or 2011.