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Animals absorb, digest and use mineral chelates better than inorganic minerals. This means that lower concentrations can be used in animal feeds. In addition, animals fed chelated sources of essential trace minerals excrete lower amounts in their faeces, and so there is less environmental contamination. Mineral chelates also offers health and welfare benefits in animal nutrition
Since the 1950s, animal feeds have been supplemented with essential trace minerals such as copper (Cu), iron (Fe), iodine (I), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn). Initially, such supplementation was by means of inorganic salts of essential trace elements. From the 1960s onwards, genetic improvement of farm livestock resulted in increased nutritional requirements for these nutrients. Chelated minerals were developed in the 1980s and 1990s. Trace mineral chelates have proven to be better than inorganic minerals in meeting the nutritional needs of modern farm animals.
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. For example, supplementary minerals help ensure good growth, bone development, feathering in birds, hoof, skin and hair quality in mammals, enzyme structure and functions, and appetite. Deficiency of trace minerals affect many metabolic processes and so may be manifested by different symptoms, such as poor growth and appetite, reproductive failures, impaired immune responses, and general ill-thrift. From the 1950s to the 1990s most trace mineral supplementation of animal diets was in the form of inorganic minerals, and these largely eradicated associated deficiency diseases in farm animals.
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