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Chelates in animal nutrition

Chelates ( che·late ) [kee-leyt] in animal feed are organic forms of essential trace minerals such as copper, iron, manganese and zinc.

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.

They are in summary;
topics of the works
  • Chelates, are organic molecules, normally consisting of 2 organic parts with an essential trace mineral occupying a central position and held in place by covalent bonding.
  • Proteinate, are a particular type of chelate, in which the mineral is chelated with short-chain peptides and amino acids derived from hydrolysed soy proteins and contain roughly 10-20% of the trace mineral. In proteinates, minerals are bound to various amino acids with different levels of stability
  • Amino-acid complex, such as glycinates or methionates, are other particular types of chelate, in which the mineral is chelated with an amino acid. Based on one single type of amino-acid, the product is pure (there is only one type of bond or chelation between minerals and the ligand) and it is therefore easier to work on stability and ensure a full chelation. Moreover, depending on the size of amino acid, it is also possible to increase the metal content
  • SCAN (2003a) Opinion of the Scientific Committee for Animal Nutrition on the use of copper in feedingstuffs.
  • SCAN (2003b),Opinion of the Scientific Committee for Animal Nutrition on the use of zinc in feedingstuffs.
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 1334/2003 of 25 July 2003 amending the conditions for authorisation of a number of additives in feedingstuffs belonging to the group of trace elements. 26.7.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union .
  • E. McCartney (2008) Trace minerals in poultry nutrition–sourcing safe minerals, organically? World Poultry
  • D. Wilde (2006). Influence of macro and micro minerals in the peri-parturient period on fertility in dairy cattle. Animal Reproduction.


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