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Biol Trace Elem Res. 2006 Sep;112(3):247-62.

Effect of zinc supplementation from different sources on growth, nutrient digestibility, blood metabolic profile, and immune response of male Guinea pigs.

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Mineral and Vitamin Nutrition Laboratory, Center of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243122, UP, India.


Forty weaned male guinea pigs of 208.20 +/- 6.62 g mean body weight were divided into 4 groups of 10 animals in a randomized block design. All of the guinea pigs were fed a basal diet [25% ground maize hay, 30% ground maize grain, 22% ground chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), 9.5% deoiled rice bran, 6% soybean meal, 6% fish meal, 1.45% mineral supplement (without Zn) and 0.05% ascorbic acid] and available green fodder. Group I served as the control (no Zn supplementation), whereas 20 ppm Zn was added in the diet in groups II, III, and IV either as zinc sulfate (ZnSO(4)), zinc amino acid complex (ZAAC), and ZnSO4 + ZAAC in equal parts, respectively. Experimental feeding lasted for 70 d, including a 3-d digestibility trial. Blood was collected through cardiac puncture from four animals in each group at d 0 and subsequently at the end of experimental feeding. After 40 d of experimental feeding, four animals from each group were injected with 0.4 mL of Brucella abortus cotton strain-19 vaccine to assess the humoral immune response of the animals. After 10 wk of study, four animals from each group were sacrificed to study the concentration of Zn, Cu, Co, Fe, and Mn in the liver, pancreas and spleen. Results revealed no significant difference in the feed intake, body weight gain, and digestibility of the nutrients, except for crude protein (CP) digestibility, which was significantly (p < 0.05) lower in group IV. Although concentrations of serum glucose, Ca, and P and the albumin:globulin (A:G) ratio were similar in the different groups, the total protein, albumin, and serum alkaline phosphatase activity were higher in all of the Zn-supplemented groups on d 70. The serum Zn levels at the end of experimental feeding were significantly higher in groups II and III, whereas serum Mn levels were found to be significantly (p < 0.05) higher in groups III and IV. The organ weights (as percentage of body weights) did not show any differences among the treatment groups. Although the Mn concentration was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in the pancreas, the Cu concentration was significantly (p < 0.05) reduced in the spleen in all of the Zn-supplemented groups. The humoral immune response (antibody titer values) on d 14 of vaccination was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in all of the Zn-supplemented groups. It was concluded that the 20-ppm level of Zn in the diet might be adequate for growth and nutrient utilization in guinea pigs, but supplementation of 20-ppm zinc significantly improved the immune response and impact was more prominent with the ZAAC (organic source) compared to ZnSO(4) (inorganic source).

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