For more than 40 years, Alltech has focused on scientific research to provide solutions and products for the global animal health industry. This focus has continued with the publication of a white paper entitled, “Organic Trace Minerals: Enhancing mineral bioavailability through chelation” by Dr. Richard Murphy, director of research at Alltech. There are many options when it comes to formulating trace minerals in livestock diets, and this paper focuses on organic trace minerals (OTMs) as a more bioavailable mineral source than their inorganic counterparts and other inferior organic products.
“From a sustainability point of view, we can’t continue to supplement diets with inorganic materials at the current very high inclusion levels without having negative consequences,” said Murphy. “Our research with organic trace minerals is looking at using less to get more for the livestock producer and the environment.”
OTMs can be produced through numerous mechanisms, depending on the trace mineral product being manufactured. The process of complexing or chelating elements, such as copper, iron or zinc, typically involves reacting inorganic mineral salts with a suitable bonding group, such as a peptide or amino acid, after which the mineral becomes part of a biologically stable structure. The higher the stability of an OTM, the greater its bioavailability is likely to be.
The chelation strength between the mineral and bonding group will define OTM stability and, ultimately, play a significant role in influencing bioavailability. Carefully considering the factors necessary for chelation can help producers distinguish between the many products available on the market based on their stability and efficacy. OTMs with high stability are more likely to be effectively absorbed by the animal and reach the target sites required for immunity, growth and reproduction. They are also significantly less likely to react with and inhibit the activity of other feed components, such as vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants.