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Zinc plays significant roles in pig nutrition and health. A zinc deficiency is manifested by skin lesions known as parakeratosis; poor feed intake; slow growth; diarrhea; and atrophy of the thymus, a gland important in immunological competence. Zinc ions may interact with E. coli by inhibiting the ability of E. coli to respire and therefore reducing its activity. In addition, recent University of Nebraska research indicates that zinc ions cause the organism responsible for swine dysentery (S. hyodysenteriae) to produce less toxin. On the other hand, too much zinc in the feed will cause growth depression, arthritis, and ultimately death.