February 7, 2018


Micronutrients IntelliBond® C helps support vitamin utilisation in broilers




As prices for key vitamins used in poultry feed are expected to remain at elevated levels throughout much of the year, nutritionists and producers are especially concerned about protecting the value of these expensive feed ingredients.


Some ingredients in the poultry diet, such as copper sulphate, oxidise easily, producing oxygen free radicals that can destroy fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E, and B2. As copper is widely fed in high concentrations as a non-antibiotic growth promoter, the dramatic price spike for key vitamins can have a dramatic effect on feed costs.


During IPPE 2018, Micronutrients shared how a less reactive source of copper can help guard against degradation of key vitamins in the poultry diet. Research has shown that compared to copper sulphate, IntelliBond C is significantly less reactive with vitamins, due to its less soluble, less oxidative nature. 


Copper sulphates catalyse oxidation of dietary fats more rapidly and to a much greater extent than IntelliBond C. Given that IntelliBond® hydroxy trace minerals are less soluble in water and have very low reactivity with other ingredients in the feed, researchers hypothesize this is why IntelliBond C does not destroy fat-soluble vitamins.


Studying broiler performance among birds fed diets supplemented with copper sulphate or IntelliBond C, researchers evaluated relative copper availability and the oxidation stability of vitamin E in feed. Measurements were taken of vitamin E concentrations in feed and in the levels of vitamin E in birds' livers and plasma. The research showed that broilers had higher liver vitamin E levels when fed IntelliBond C at 150 or 450 ppm compared to the same levels of copper sulphate. Plasma vitamin E levels were also higher for broilers fed IntelliBond C compared to birds fed copper sulphates, at all copper supplementation levels.


Three experiments found improved stability of vitamin A, D3, E and riboflavin in diets supplemented with IntelliBond C compared to copper sulphate pentahydrate in crumbled broiler starter feed. In the first experiment, the introduction of steam in the crumbling feed process solubilised reactive copper sulphate, destroying vitamins A and E. However, feeding 250 ppm of IntelliBond C resulted in significantly higher levels of vitamin E in the serum and livers of birds fed crumbled diets. A second experiment found that feeding more than 188 ppm IntelliBond C resulted in significantly more vitamin E in the liver compared to birds fed copper sulphate.


Increasing the concentration of copper in poultry feed has been shown to increase the amount of vitamin E measured in the serum and livers of broilers. The findings suggest feeding high levels of copper supports optimised availability of vitamins in the bird.


"Prices for vitamin A, E, and B2 have increased dramatically over the last few months and prices are not expected to subside until sometime in the third quarter of 2018," said Dr. Kurt Perryman, technical sales manager at Micronutrients. "Even when fed at levels as low as 10 ppm, the oxidisation of copper sulphate destroys vitamin A and E in pelleted/crumbled feed," Dr. Perryman added. For producers receiving vitamin A and E in their premix, Micronutrients cautions against feeding copper sulphate. Supplementing feed with higher levels of copper available in IntelliBond C can help ensure that vitamins in poultry feed are available for utilisation by the bird.

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