Trace Mineral Nutrition in Poultry and Swine

  • Richards, James D. (Novus International, Inc.) ;
  • Zhao, Junmei (Novus International, Inc.) ;
  • Harrell, Robert J. (Novus International, Inc.) ;
  • Atwell, Cindy A. (Novus International, Inc.) ;
  • Dibner, Julia J. (Novus International, Inc.)
  • Published : 2010.11.01


Trace minerals such as zinc, copper, and manganese are essential cofactors for hundreds of cellular enzymes and transcription factors in all animal species, and thus participate in a wide variety of biochemical processes. Immune development and response, tissue and bone development and integrity, protection against oxidative stress, and cellular growth and division are just a few examples. Deficiencies in trace minerals can lead to deficits in any of these processes, as well as reductions in growth performance. As such, most animal diets are supplemented with inorganic and/or organic forms of trace minerals. Inorganic trace minerals (ITM) such as sulfates and oxides form the bulk of trace mineral supplementation, but these forms of minerals are well known to be prone to dietary antagonisms. Feeding high-quality chelated trace minerals or other classes of organic trace minerals (OTM) can provide the animal with more bioavailable forms of the minerals. Interestingly, many, if not most, published experiments show little or no difference in the bioavailability of OTMs versus ITMs. In some cases, it appears that there truly is no difference. However, real differences in bioavailability can be masked if source comparisons are not made on the linear portion of the dose-response curve. When highly bioavailable chelated minerals are fed, they will better supply the biochemical systems of the cells of the animal, leading to a wide variety of benefits in both poultry and swine. Indeed, the use of certain chelated trace minerals has been shown to enhance mineral uptake, and improve the immune response, oxidative stress management, and tissue and bone development and strength. Furthermore, the higher bioavailability of these trace minerals allows the producer to achieve similar or improved performance, at reduced levels of trace mineral inclusion.


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