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Strategies and challenges to increase the precision in feeding zinc to monogastric livestock

Brugger, Daniel, Windisch, Wilhelm M.
Animal nutrition 2017 v.3 no.2 pp. 103-108
animal performance, antagonism, bioavailability, diet, physiological state, poultry, product safety, rearing, swine, uncertainty, zinc
Practical diets for monogastric livestock must be supplemented with zinc (Zn) due to their high contents of antagonistic substances like phytates. Current feeding recommendations include quite generous safety margins because of uncertainties regarding the gross Zn requirements under varying rearing conditions. Furthermore, the use of pharmacological Zn doses to stabilise animal performance and wellbeing is widespread. Taken together, modern diets for pigs and poultry contain considerably more Zn than necessary to meet animal requirements, which is associated with concerns related to the environment as well as animal and consumer safety. Therefore, European authorities most recently reduced the allowed upper limits for Zn in complete feed. To maintain animal productivity and wellbeing while reducing the Zn load in complete feed, all measures that stabilize feed Zn bioavailability must be applied. Most importantly, reliable information on the gross Zn requirement under practical conditions must be provided, considering the bioavailability of native or supplemented feed Zn, antagonisms with dietary factors as well as the physiological status of the animal.