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Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1973. Department of Animal Science.


Copyright 1973, the author. Used by permission.


Many of the effective antibiotics and growth stimulating agents now being used in swine diets may soon become unavailable by policies being established by the Food and Drug Administration.The removal of these drugs from swine feeds will result in a great economic loss to the swine industry.Research indicates that effective antibiotics result in about a 10% improvement in gain and 5% savings of feed.

Today, with high feed costs, one must find ways to improve efficiency if the swine industry is to survive.Copper has long been known to provide a growth stimulating effect when fed at high levels to swine.Copper sulfate is used widely in Europe as an additive to pig diets.Many studies have shown growth responses and improved feed utilization similar to those obtained with antibiotics.

When feeding high levels of Copper in swine diets, two major problems exist.One is that animals tend to accumulate large amounts of Copper in liver tissue.When this occurs these tissues may not be sold for human consumption and the result is a net loss to the swine industry.The second major problem is that when high levels of Copper are fed, much of the Copper is not absorbed by the animal and is present in extremely high levels in the feces. This presents a waste disposal problem in that only given amounts of manure can be placed on soils in order to prevent a high Copper build up from occurring and rendering the soil unproductive.

Chelates have been used with success in agriculture for many years to enhance the absorption of trace minerals by plants from the soil.More recently, chelation has been employed by nutritionists to improve the uptake of trace minerals by animals.If chelation improves absorption of trace minerals, theoretically less of the mineral(s) will be needed to meet the animals’ requirement.

The purposes of the research reported herein were (1) to determine the effects of chelation and varying levels of Copper on growth and feed conversion of growing rats and swine; (2) to determine if through chelation, one could obtain the growth promoting effects of Copper when fed at lower levels and thereby reduce liver Copper storage and levels present in feces and (3) to determine if, in fact, chelated Copper is more efficiently absorbed than non-chelated.

Advisor:Ernest R. Peo, Jr.