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Effects of dietary zinc/copper ratios on the metabolism of zinc and copper in weaned pigs

By: Danyel Bueno Dalto, Isabelle Audet, Caroline Roy, Karine Deschêne, Geneviève Villeneuve, J Jacques Matte, Jérôme Lapointe

Zinc oxide and copper sulfate are commonly used as growth promoters and alternatives to antibiotics to prevent diarrhea in weaned piglets but their use in post-weaning pigs diets has been challenged due to environmental issues and concerns related to bacterial resistance to antibiotics and heavy metals. Recently, it was reported that high dietary zinc levels interfere with copper status and may be detrimental to post-weaning piglets’ health. In fact, the optimal dietary zinc/copper ratios need to be determined. Therefore, this experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of different dietary zinc/copper ratios (3,000/130, 3,000/6, 100/130, and 100/6 mg/kg) on zinc and copper metabolism in weaned piglets. This study demonstrated that high dietary zinc/copper ratios impaired zinc and copper homeostasis but also that 100 mg/kg of dietary zinc and 6 mg/kg of dietary copper are apparently not sufficient to fulfill the piglets’ requirements during the first weeks post-weaning.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.