Research Shows Supplementing Animal Diets with Zinc Chelate Can Offer Superior Advantages

US - Recent study results showed significantly greater zinc bioavailability for chelated zinc relative to zinc sulfate.
calendar icon 9 September 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

Zinc plays a cross-functional role in animals, impacting gene expression, DNA and protein synthesis, cell signaling, cell division and animal growth, immune development and function, synthesis of structural proteins such as collagen and keratin, bone and tissue development, reproduction and defense against oxidative stress.

Zinc deficiency can negatively impact one or more of these processes. Because of its vital role, zinc is typically supplemented in all animal diets, either as inorganic trace mineral salts, like sulfates, chlorides, and oxides, and/or organic trace minerals.

“While inorganic trace minerals are relatively cheap, they suffer from poor bioavailability, or the degree to which an ingested nutrient is absorbed in a form that can be utilized in metabolism by the animal, as compared with some organic trace minerals,” commented Karen Wedekind, Senior Research Scientist, Comparative Nutrition at Novus.

“Poor uptake of inorganic trace minerals is mostly due to antagonisms and interactions in the animal system. An example of zinc antagonism occurs when there is an excess of calcium and/or phosphorus.”

In a recent study, entitled “Greater bioavailability of chelated compared with inorganic zinc in broiler chicks in the presence or absence of elevated calcium and phosphorus,” Novus International, Inc. researchers compared MINTREX® chelated zinc (Zn) with zinc sulfate in Cobb 500 broiler chicks.

The chicks were fed either a Zn-deficient corn-soybean meal diet or a Zn-deficient corn-soybean meal diet containing elevated calcium and phosphorous as antagonists. Commercial diets often contain high levels of calcium and phosphorous.

The results showed significantly greater zinc bioavailability for MINTREX relative to zinc sulfate as judged by total tibia zinc, tibia zinc concentration and small intestinal metallothionein mRNA expression.

“Feeding MINTREX chelated zinc can offer advantages over inorganic zinc, especially in diets containing high levels of calcium and phosphorous, which is a common occurrence in livestock diets,” added Wedekind.

The Novus research study was published in the Open Access Animal Physiology (OAAP) journal. OAAP is an international, peer-reviewed, open access, online journal, publishing original research, reports, reviews and commentaries on all areas of animal physiology.

The full study is available for download online at here. For more information on MINTREX Zn, visit

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