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Iron is key to building robust pigs.


Figure 2 - Mortality in the post-weaning phase. 4.0


3.4 3.0 2.0 1.9 1.6 1.0


Fe-AA chelate* Fe sulphate


3.3


0.0


stomach, means more is available to the animal. Consequently, it allows iron supplementation to be lower compared with in- organic iron sources while the iron needs of the pig are still be- ing met, in particular during the first three weeks after wean- ing, as the iron-amino acid chelate bypasses the inorganic iron transport pathway and uses amino acid transporters instead.


Better intestinal barrier function Similarly, another key attribute is its lower oxidative power in premixes, the feed and at the intestinal level, which ultimate- ly results in less oxidative stress for the pig compared to com- mon iron sources like iron sulphate. The latter, and any iron that is unbound, is a powerful pro-oxidant that does harm to intestinal tissues and increases leaky gut when it is over- supplemented. Controlled research studies show that supplementing weaned pig diets with the iron-amino acid chelate has posi- tive effects on diarrhoea and mortality in weaned pigs. In a study using 1,000 piglets, they were split into two groups at weaning and fed a diet that provided 180 ppm supplemental iron/kg diet either in the form of iron sulphate or the iron-amino acid chelate. Piglets fed a diet with the iron-ami- no acid chelate had a lower incidence of diarrhoea (1.3 vs 2.0 diarrhoea days, Figure 1), lower mortality (1.9 vs 3.4%, Figure 2) and higher final body weight (29.9 kg vs 28.0 kg, Figure 3) than those fed inorganic iron sulphate. The decrease in diar- rhoea incidence and lower mortality is likely a result of iron being less oxidative and more metabolically available when provided as the iron-amino acid chelate. In a recent study that also compared iron sulphate to the iron-amino acid chelate when added to weaner diets to


Study 1 Study 2


* Availa Fe, Zinpro Performance Minerals. Study 1: Grela et al., 2005. Study 2: Commercial research organisation, France, 2016.


provide 90 ppm iron, mortality was again lower in the group with the chelated iron (1.6 vs 3.3%, Figure 2). These results in- dicate that the iron-amino acid chelate has the potential to mitigate diarrhoea, improve robustness and enhance the growth rate of weaned pigs. In conclusion, iron in the form of Availa Fe is less oxidative and more metabolically available than iron in inorganic form, which results in less diarrhoea, improved robustness and higher performance of weaned pigs. Furthermore, it allows the level of supplemental iron in the diet to be reduced.


Figure 3 - Body weight at the end of the post- weaning phase.


32


Fe-AA chelate* Fe sulphate


29.9 28 28.0


24 At 56 days after weaning


* Availa Fe, Zinpro Performance Minerals. Source: Grela et al., 2005.


▶ PIG PROGRESS | Volume 37, No. 7, 2021 33


Body weight, kg


%


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