The trace mineral iron is required by animals for several functions, including: oxygen transportation, immunity, milk production and muscle development.
Iron is a part of hemoglobin, the pigment of red blood cells and myoglobin, the muscle pigment which is necessary for their formation. In addition, iron is responsible for oxygen storage and oxygen transportation in the body.
As an enzyme component, iron plays an important role in energy metabolism as well as in the anti-oxidative system (immune system).
In addition, when an animal has the proper balance of trace minerals, it is better able to cope with the challenging effects of stress. Iron has a very specific function in all animals as a component of the protein heme found in the red blood cells protein: hemoglobin and in the muscle cells protein myoglobin.
IRON IN RUMINANT NUTRITION
Iron deficiency is not common in dairy cows because many feedstuffs (mainly forage) contain iron in sufficient amounts.
However, it may lead to deficiency symptoms in calves supplemented with whole milk. Deficiency symptoms appear in the form of anemia, poor immunity and growth.
In fact that iron is much more common than other trace elements; iron excess can lead to poor absorption for copper and manganese.
IRON IN POULTRY NUTRITION
Iron has a rapid turnover rate in the chicken – 10 times per day – so it must be provided in a highly available form in the bird’s diet on a daily basis.
Any internal infection such as coccidiosis can also interfere with iron absorption and availability. Iron deficiency can result in microcytic, hypochromic anemia in poultry.
IRON IN SWINE NUTRITION
Iron is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin that transports oxygen in red blood cells, myoglobin in muscle tissue, and iron-containing enzymes.
The baby pig is born with a high concentration of iron in the liver. However, with the low iron in sow’s milk and the rapid growth of the young pig, liver iron is not adequate to meet the requirement of the pig.
IRON IN AQUA NUTRITION
Research shows that optimal trace mineral nutrition is one path to improve production. Fish, shrimp and other aquatic species require trace minerals such as zinc, manganese, copper, iron and selenium for basic metabolic functions, such as growth and development, immunity and reproduction.
To be efficient, competitive and profitable, farms need to get products to market with weight gain quickly as well as good feed conversion, high uniformity, immunity and healthy skin or scales.