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  • Real Pork Trust Consortium

Zinc - An Essential Yet Finite Resource, Toxic in Excess: Summary of Special Seminar About Zinc and Pigs at Aarhus University

A man presents about pigs and zinc and all the systemic considerations within pork production
Dr. Pedro Urriola presents his portion of the seminar about zinc and swine at Aarhus University in Denmark

We are delighted to share highlights from a recent seminar featuring research on zinc uses in diets for pigs and sows. As an essential nutrient, zinc is required by all living organisms. Yet, excess zinc is toxic to pigs, plants, and other organisms in the environment. Finding a balance requires a systems approach.

Hosted by Aarhus University in Denmark, Pedro E. Urriola, Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota and Research Lead for the Real Pork Trust Consortium, alongside Danyel Bueno Dalto from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Mihai-Victor Curtasu from Aarhus University, presented a series of talks about zinc supplementation to pigs and sows.

Effects of Zinc Supplementation on Lifetime Events of Pigs

Dr. Pedro Urriola commenced the seminar with a thought-provoking presentation on the effects of zinc supplementation throughout the lifetime of pigs. He explored various facets, including the impact of zinc supplementation to gestating sows on pre-weaning mortality of light birthweight pigs, the influence of different sources of zinc on post-weaning pig growth, and the association between tissue zinc concentration and clinical outcomes in pigs infected with Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, a common swine respiratory disease.

Insights into Zinc Absorption and Trace Minerals Metabolism

Dr. Danyel Bueno Dalto described results on the net intestinal absorption of zinc and copper using the "portal vein net appearance approach." Additionally, he shared findings on the effects of levels of dietary zinc on trace minerals metabolism in the post-weaning period, shedding light on crucial aspects of mineral nutrition in pigs and the need to study these trace minerals in conjunction.

Metabolomics Response to Dietary Interventions

Dr. Mihai-Victor Curtasu concluded the seminar series with an intriguing discussion on the analysis of biochemical markers (metabolomics) of pigs response to vitamin D supplementation while infected with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). He also shared insights into the metabolomics profile and microbiome response in pigs fed different levels of zinc, in collaboration with Elham Assadi Soumeh from Queensland University, providing valuable insights into the complex interactions between diet, metabolism, and health in pigs.

Open Discussion and Knowledge Exchange

A group of colleagues celebrate a successful seminar on zinc and swine at Aarhus University
A group of colleagues celebrate a successful seminar on zinc and swine at Aarhus University.

The seminar culminated in an engaging open discussion, where participants had the opportunity to exchange ideas, ask questions, and deepen their understanding of the topics presented. This collaborative forum fostered knowledge sharing and laid the groundwork for future research endeavors in pig production.

In conclusion, the seminar provided a comprehensive overview of the latest advancements in zinc supplementation and metabolomics research in pig production. By leveraging interdisciplinary expertise and cutting-edge methodologies, researchers are unraveling the complexities of pig nutrition and health, paving the way for improved management practices and enhanced productivity in the swine industry.


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