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Animal. 2013 Jan;7(1):47-59. doi: 10.1017/S1751731112001000. Epub 2012 May 18.

Bioavailability of zinc sources and their interaction with phytates in broilers and piglets.

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  • 1Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux, Research Station ALP, Switzerland. patrick.schlegel@alp.admin.ch


Zinc (Zn) is essential for swine and poultry and native Zn concentrations in feedstuffs are too low to meet their Zn requirement. Dietary Zn bioavailability is affected by phytate, phytase and Zn supplemented in organic form is considered as more bioavailable than inorganic sources. A meta-analysis using GLM procedures was processed using broiler and piglet databases to investigate, within the physiological response of Zn, (1) the bioavailability of inorganic and organic Zn sources (Analysis I); (2) the bioavailability of native and inorganic Zn dependent from dietary phytates, vegetal and supplemental phytase activity (Analysis II). Analysis I: the bioavailability of organic Zn relative to inorganic Zn sources ranged, depending on the variable, from 85 to 117 never different from 100 (P > 0.05). The coefficients of determination of the regressions were 0.91 in broilers and above 0.89 in piglets. Analysis II: in broilers, bone Zn was explained by supplemental Zn (linear and quadratic, P < 0.001) and by supplemental phytase (linear, P < 0.001). In piglets, the interaction between dietary Zn and phytates/phytases was investigated by means of a new variable combining dietary phytic phosphorus (PP) and phytase activity. This new variable represents the remaining dietary PP after its hydrolysis in the digestive tract, mainly due to phytase and is called non-hydrolyzed phytic phosphorus (PP(NH)). Bone Zn was increased with native Zn (P < 0.001), but to a lower extent in high PP or low phytase diets (ZN(N) × PP(NH), P < 0.001). In contrast, the increase in bone zinc in response to supplemental Zn (P < 0.001) was not modulated by PP(NH) (P > 0.05). The coefficients of determination of the regressions were 0.92 in broilers and above 0.92 in piglets. The results from the two meta-analyses suggest that (1) broilers and piglets use supplemented Zn, independent from Zn source; (2) broiler use native Zn and the use is slightly enhanced with supplemental phytase; (3) however, piglets are limited in the use of native Zn because of the antagonism of non-hydrolyzed dietary phytate. This explains the higher efficacy of phytase in improving Zn availability in this specie.

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