Advances in Mineral and Vitamin Nutrition of Livestock
Even though, minerals and vitamins as nutrients are as essential as energy and protein, general negligence occurs primarily because they are required in little quantities, making them insignificant comparison to energy and protein feed resources. However, the way they regulate enzyme / hormones involved in metabolisim, production and health, their importance in animal nutrition cannot be under estimated. Deficiencies of minerals and vitamins occur frequently in diets consisting of common feed ingredients, and these need to be provided in a supplemental form. The term requirement for minerals is only a guideline as many conditions of antagonism / synergism and productivity level alter the requirement. Besides, the degree of bioavailability of individual mineral influences the dietary requirement, therefore it is important to know the bioavailability of minerals and vitamins in both common feed ingredients and dietary supplements used in animal feeding. Thus specific minerals deficiency or toxicity problems become area- or feed- specific. The quantity or quality of minerals in feed and fodders thus become dependent of soil and type of feed / fodder cultivar. The minerals are classified on the basis of their requirement.
Bioavailability of mineralsA series of chemical changes take place in the rumen and digestive tract when we feed a given mineral that allow it to be absorbed. The %age of mineral absorbed in relation to the amount fed can be referred to as the biological availability or bioavailability. As the genetic potential of the herd improves, mineral supplementation strategies become more vital and are influenced by a variety of factors, including forage mineral bioavailability, mineral interactions, stage of production and even breed. Adequate intake and balance are required for proper functioning of all the metabolic processes including immune response and reproduction . Depending on the factors mentioned above, bioavailability can vary widely and must be considered when diet is formulated.