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Study looks at zinc oxide in growth, health of pigs

A Kansas State University swine nutrition student is conducting research that focuses on potential alternatives to zinc oxide, a common ingredient in the diets of weaned pigs, in a project he says may contribute to the swine industry’s goal of improving the efficiency of pork production and animal welfare.

“Pharmacological levels of zinc from zinc oxide have been shown to improve growth performance and health status of the newly weaned pig,” graduate student Ethan Stas said in a university news release. “However, there are growing concerns with the use of pharmacological levels of zinc in swine diets because of environmental concerns.”

Stas — who is working with feed ingredients with an acid binding capacity at a pH level of 4 (known as ABC-4) — noted that the European Union has already banned the use of pharmacological levels of zinc and said that North America may follow a similar path

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