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Interpretive Summary: How copper can impact pig growth: comparing the effect of copper sulfate and monovalent copper oxide on oxidative status, inflammation, gene abundance, and microbial modulation as potential mechanisms of action

By: Asal Forouzandeh, Laia Blavi, Jose Francisco Pérez, Matilde D’Angelo, Francesc González-Solé, Alessandra Monteiro, Hans H Stein, David Solà-Oriol

Copper is a nonrenewable mineral resource that is essential for all biological organisms. After banning the antibiotics, copper has received considerable attention due to its antimicrobial properties that improve performance in animals when fed over the minimum requirement. The present study evaluated two sources of Cu (copper sulfate and monovalent copper oxide) compared with a nonsupplemented diet and the likely mechanism of action which leads to improved pig performance. Pigs fed high concentrations of copper sulfate showed increased liver oxidation and inflammatory indicators in the blood. Elevated concentrations of Cu improved intestinal epithelial barrier function, modulation of inflammatory responses, increased beneficial microbes, and reduced pathogens in the gut. Therefore, supplementation of high levels of Cu appears to be effective in promoting pig growth, but therapeutic doses of Cu sulfate increase the inflammatory response.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.