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Determination of the Optimal Level of Dietary Zinc for Newly Weaned Pigs: A Dose-Response Study

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Piglets have a very low feed intake immediately after weaning. We hypothesise
that the EU-legislated maximum dietary zinc concentration (150 mg zinc/kg diet) will increase the
risk of zinc deficiency after weaning. Zinc deficiency includes symptoms such as impaired growth
and increased risk of diarrhoea. However, a high dietary zinc concentration has an antimicrobial
effect on the bacteria and increases the risk of antimicrobial resistance. The findings of this study
show that the dietary zinc level had a quadratic effect on growth, with a turning point at an
approximately 1400 mg zinc per kg diet. The risk of diarrhoea increased up to 60% for pigs that had
a blood zinc concentration which decreased after weaning. Maintaining the blood zinc
concentration seven days after weaning required up to 1121 mg zinc per kg diet. There was no
evidence for an antimicrobial effect when feeding pigs a diet with up to 1601 mg zinc per kg.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1552
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

    Research areas

  • serum zinc, growth performance, diarrhoea, zinc oxide, intestinal integrity

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