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How to improve the absorption of trace elements in - Orffa

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by Dr. Detlef Kampf Additives
How to improve the absorption of
trace elements in monogastric animals
Increased bioavailability results in
healthier animals, better results
Trace elements perform important physiological functions, such as the complex functions in
metabolism, and deficiencies can lead to general disorders, which is why they are provided
in the feed. Though important for maintaining
optimal livestock health and performance, the
importance of benefits from trace element supplementation tend to be underestimated.
Trace element absorption challenges
Trace element bioavailability, or the degree
to which or rate at which it is absorbed after
administration, varies based on a number of
circumstances. For example, the reasons for
variations are influenced by the different digestive
tract anatomies between the species, the age of
the animal (intestinal uptake capacity decreases
For example, a zinc surplus will cause copper
transport across the intestinal epithelial cells, or
enterocytes, to be blocked due to the formation
of intestinal metallothionein. This is also recognized as a secondary copper deficiency.
Beyond these, mycotoxins, crude fiber, tannins and phytic acid affect the availability of
trace elements.
Characterization, differentiation
of trace elements
The various feed additivesВ approved as
trace element sources can be distinguished
in terms of their availability for the animal. The
best known and largely used inorganic trace
minerals, sulphates and oxides, vary mainly
due to their solubility in the aqueous medium
of the digestive tract. A product with very low
solubility, e.g., copper oxide, should therefore
be avoided in livestock feed.
Learn more about trace minerals and the importance of bioavailability:
with age), animal health and the presence of
stress. In addition, trace element bioavailability
depends further on a number of factors, such as:
the status of the trace element, its ability to form
chemical bonds, the trace element’s dosage and
the antagonists which inhibit absorption. These
antagonists require highly bioavailable trace elements to guarantee a sufficient supply to the animal even at a low feed concentration.
Unbalanced or high levels of certain trace elements lead to shortages of the other elements.
November/December 2013 |
However, the high solubility of sulphates
provides the disadvantage of very reactive
copper ions, i.e., a strong pro-oxidant initiates and hurries oxidation, which promotes
adverse reactions with feed components.
This causes the degradation and damage of
sensitive ingredients, such as vitamins or fat,
as well as forming of harmful free radicals and
peroxides and reducing palatability of feed.
In contrast to inorganic, organically bound
trace elements (chelates) are stable in the diet | November/December 2013
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and improve absorption due to their chemical
structure. The advantage is superior in isolation
from the solubility of inorganic trace elements, but
also in reducing absorption-inhibitory responses in
the digestive tract. The positive effects of organically bound versus inorganic trace elements have
been confirmed in numerous scientific studies.
Nevertheless, an adequate assessment of the
quality of organically bound trace elements can
be easily checked by simple analytical methods.
Effects of various trace
element sources in
monogastric animals
Much trial work has been carried out in
monogastrics where stable trace element
sources, e.g., chelates or hydroxy trace
minerals, confirmed better effects when
compared to sulphates with regards to an
improved bioavailability, intestinal efficacy and gut health.
Example 1: In broilers a higher bioavailability of hydroxy copper was measured in contrast to zinc sulphate. The use
of hydroxy zinc in broilers led to higher
daily gain, better feed conversion and
heavier breast muscle. (See Figure 1)
Example 2: Increasing dosages of hydroxy copper in piglets up to 200 ppm
resulted in significant increased average
daily gain outperforming copper sulphate
at 200 ppm, too.В (See Figure 2)
Studies show hydroxy trace elements to
present improved stability and high physiological significance.
About hydroxy trace minerals
A new category of trace minerals, known as
hydroxy trace minerals, belong to the group of
inorganic trace mineral sources, but have similar chemically stable structures such as organically bound trace elements. Covalent bonds
and a unique crystalline matrix structure provide
a reliable stability, which differentiates hydroxy
trace minerals from both organic and inorganic
: Impact of different zinc sources
on body weight and feed conversion in broilers
: Impact of increasing copper
levels of hydroxy copper on body
weight gain in piglets
ADG (kg/d)
IntelliBond C
Cu S04
Copper dosage (ppm)
Source: Allee et al. 2011
80 Zn504 80 IntelliBond Z
60 Zn 504/
20 Zn-Chelate
Source: Parr et al. 2013
Weight (g)
Feed conversion
Body weight (g)
FIGURE 1: In broilers a higher bioavailability of hydroxy
zinc was measured in contrast to copper sulphate. The
use of hydroxy zinc in broilers led to higher daily gain,
better feed conversion and heavier breast muscle.
FIGURE 2: Increasing dosages of hydroxy copper
in piglets up to 200 ppm resulted in significant increased average daily gain outperforming
copper sulphate at 200 ppm, too. | November/December 2013
| 25
Feed vitamin E (mg/kg)
Control (18 ppm)
Cu sulfate (200 ppm)
IntelliBond C (200 ppm)
Storage time (d)
*Within a time point, mean is significantly different from control (p<0.05)
Source: Lu et al. 2010
An example of copper from copper sulphate at a high
dosage showed, in contrast to hydroxy copper, a very
strong negative impact on vitamin E stability in feed.
In contrast to copper sulphate, these products
are hardly soluble at neutral pH, which provides
increased trace mineral stability in the intestine.
Less-reactive trace element ions occur in the upper digestive tract and are associated with fewer
interactions with other feed components. The crystalline structure releases the trace elements slowly
over the full length of the small intestine resulting in
improved trace element absorption and enhanced
effects on intestinal health.
Effects of various trace
element sources in feed
Trials have demonstrated improved stability of
sensitive feed ingredients through stable trace
element sources. Such results are based on the
non-hygroscopic and non-reactive (non-prooxidative) characteristics of these trace element
For example, copper from copper sulphate at a
high dosage — as opposed to hydroxy copper —
presents a very strong negative impact on vitamin
E stability in feed (Figure 3). Due to high solubility
and high reactivity, increased dosages of copper
sulphate result in a significant negative impact on
November/December 2013 |
Impact of increasing dosages of
various copper sources on phytate
phosphorus hydrolysis by phytase
Relative phytate P hydrolysis
by phytase (%)
Impact of various copper sources
on the concentration of vitamin E in feed
Cu-Sulphate IntelliBond and C
62.5 ppm
250 ppm
0 ppm
125 ppm
(a-d) Means (N=3) within each Cusoute with no common
superscript differ significantly (P –< 0.05)
Source: Pang and Applegate 2006
Increasing dosages of copper sulphate due to high
solubility and high reactivity (formation of insoluble
complexes with phytate) has a significant negative impact on phytate phosphorus hydrolysis, whereas both
copper from copper lysine and hydroxy copper did not
influence phosphorus hydrolysis.
phytate phosphorus hydrolysis. Neither copper
from copper lysine nor hydroxy copper influenced
phosphorus hydrolysis (Figure 4).
The usable amount of trace elements is
crucial to the animal. This requires accurate
knowledge of the composition of the feed and, if
possible, the diminishing availability of trace elements and interactions with other feed ingredients. The trace element supply can be improved
by the use of high-quality trace mineral sources
such as organic chelates; however, the assessment of the used quality is essential.В The positive effects of chelates and hydroxy trace
elements in feed have been proven to increase the
stability of sensitive feed components and ingredients and produce higher bioavailability. в—Ђ
Dr. Detlef Kampf is the central technical manager
with Orffa Additives.
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