How trace minerals help make pet foods nutritional

As pet food ingredients, trace minerals play an important physiological role and are necessary to maintain body function and optimize health, growth, reproductive performance and immune response in pets.

Andrea Gantz
Andrea Gantz

As pet food ingredients, trace minerals play an important physiological role and are necessary to maintain body function and optimize health, growth, reproductive performance and immune response in pets, said Juan Gomez-Basauri, PhD, global director of the companion animal business for Alltech. He presented during Petfood Forum China 2016, held on August 17 in Shanghai, China.

In pet health, trace minerals have important biochemical roles, serving as metalloenzymes (co-factors), proteins and providing hormone structure, Gomez explained. For example, the essential trace mineral zinc produces a protein called metallothionein. There are four kinds of metallothionein, and the fourth, MT4, is expressed at the gut level as an antioxidant. Studies have shown that when included in the form of organic zinc, MT4 is highly bioavailable and effective, compared to other, inorganic sources.

Gomez also addressed the safety and sustainability of trace minerals. A global study conducted by Alltech revealed that 20% of food samples tested showed presence of at least one heavy metal, which has important implications for both human food and pet food. Much work needs to be done in the area of traceability, he said.

The same is true for sustainability, as mining of inorganic trace minerals has a significant environmental impact.

“If it can’t be grown, it must be mined,” Gomez said. “The global population is growing; we must be responsible about the minerals we use.”

More than 100 pet food professionals, including conference sponsors, participated in Petfood Forum China 2016 at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, in conjunction with Pet Fair Asia, one of the largest pet trade shows in China. In 2017, both events will move to the Shanghai New International Expo Centre, with Petfood Forum China taking place August 23, 2017.


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