Alltech sponsored the first ever mineral symposium titled, “Changing Insight into the Role of Trace Minerals,” at the annual Poultry Science Association (PSA) meeting, held in Louisville, Kentucky, July 27-30.
This symposium reflected on the broad range of new information about trace elements and suggested several ways of putting this science to good use in building broiler, breeder, layer and turkey diets that promote animal health, efficient feed conversion and higher product quality for the human food chain.
Dr. Peter Ferket from North Carolina State University (NCSU) kicked off the program by pointing out that while essential trace elements are only around 0.5% of the diet, they are involved in 100% of the body’s metabolic functions. The structural, physiological, catalytic and regulatory roles of minerals require careful consideration when feeding birds to meet genetic potential—beginning with the breeder. Likewise, mineral form and a number of intrinsic and extrinsic variables determine mineral availability. Recent research at NCSU has shown that Bioplex® proteinates supplied at as low as 12.5% of typical commercial levels provide equal or better body weight, feed conversion and tibia ash.
Dr. Horacio Rostagno from the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil highlighted the importance of knowing mineral source availability. Typically, industry along with academia formulate based on trace mineral content alone, then add an additional amount as a ‘safety margin.’ Rostagno’s group is re-evaluating mineral availability based on amount per kg gain.
Nutrient-mineral interaction problems are exacerbated when over-formulating with inorganics. Dr. Todd Applegate from Purdue University described the need to consider the interactions of trace element forms with enzymes such as phytase. In addition, mineral forms interact differently with gut microbes, immune cells and with homeostatic mechanisms that maintain electrolyte balance. All have increased importance as the industry shifts away from antimicrobial drugs.
Drs. Chris Ashwell (pictured) and Karl Dawson, respectively from NCSU and Alltech, emphasized the value of nutrigenomic studies in moving mineral nutrition forward in growth physiology and reproductive management, and in controlling meat quality. Dr. Fernando Rutz, Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil, emphasized the consumer-related aspects of controlling oxidation through nutrition. Shelf-life declines when proteins and fats oxidize, which is hastened by adding pro-oxidative inorganics to the poultry feed. Stability of color and flavor are enhanced and skin-tearing reduced, when the Bioplex proteinate forms are added at lower levels.