Effects of two zinc supplementation levels and two zinc and copper sources with different solubility characteristics on the growth performance, carcass characteristics and digestibility of growing‐finishing pigs

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr. 2021;105:59–71

Open Access
J. Francisco Pérez, S. van Kuijk, D. Melo‐Durán, R. Karimirad and D. Solà‐Oriol

by S. Villagómez-Estrada on 22/09/2020
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Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition


The present study was conducted to evaluate the effect of two Zn supplemented levels and two Zn and Cu sources (sulphate and hydroxychloride) on growing‐finishing pigs. An in vitro study and an in vivo study were conducted. In the in vitro study, Zn solubility from each source at different Zn supplementation levels was evaluated, as well as the phytic phosphorus (PP) solubility derived from the interaction or not with phytic acid at similar conditions to those found in digestive tract. The most critical interaction of Zn with phytic acid was at pH 6.5 and with Zn sulphate, resulting in the reduction in PP solubility. In the in vivo experiment, a total of 444 pigs ([Duroc × Landrace]×Pietrain; initial BW: 18.7 ± 0.20 kg) were allotted to 36 pens in a randomized complete block design (2 × 2) factorial arrangement with two Zn and Cu sources and two Zn supplemental levels (20 and 80 mg/kg). The Cu supplementation was fixed at 15 mg/kg for all diets. There was no effect of the interaction between mineral source × Zn level or Zn level on growth performance or carcass characteristics (p > .10). Apparent total digestibility of Zn and Cu along with carcass yield was higher for pigs fed hydroxychloride than pigs fed the sulphate counterparts (p < .05). Feeding low levels of Zn decreased Zn (45.5%; p < .0001) and Cu(18.5%; p = .018) faecal excretion. In conclusion, under commercial conditions, feeding growing‐finishing pigs with Zn levels below those established by the European Union regulation did not affect growth performance and carcass characteristics. Reducing dietary mineral (Zn and Cu) diet content resulted in a lower faecal mineral excretion. Pigs fed sulphate minerals had an improved performance during grower period, while pigs fed hydroxychloride minerals showed an improved performance during finishing period and a greater carcass yield and mineral digestibility than those fed sulphates.