Hydroxy trace minerals, first developed by Trouw Nutrition subsidiary Micronutrients, are now widely available on the market, but feed companies should take care in sourcing to ensure the best performance in feed and within the animal, warns the company.

“As the negative effects of sulphates and oxides have become more widely known and researched over recent years, hydroxy trace minerals offer a new advanced solution to replace these inorganic compounds to help drive animal performance,” explains Laura Drury from Trouw Nutrition GB.

With a number of hydroxy mineral brands now available on the market worldwide, she warns that while the empirical formulae of the products may be the same, careful control of the production process and quality control measures to ensure a highly stable and effective product are critical for optimal animal performance.

“Trouw’s Intellibond has an unrivalled wealth of research, much of it published, from over 150 studies obtained over 20 years demonstrating the effectiveness of the brand specifically and its benefits in terms of animal performance across multiple species.

“This research is specific to the effectiveness of the crystal structure of Intellibond, so I would advise formulators and nutritionists to be aware of this when looking into or being presented with generic hydroxy mineral research.”

Ms Drury also warns that products must meet EU compliance for the content of heavy metal, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds. She says samples of some hydroxy mineral products have shown levels of 2-5 times the regulatory limit, putting a huge question mark over their quality and toxicity.

Finally, Ms Drury observes there are significant differences in particle size and distribution between products. IntelliBond is produced using patented Large Particle Technology, to improve handling, precision, and uniformity in feed – “this helps to reduce carryover risk, makes for easier and more predictable measuring and handling, further optimises stability and avoids clumping in finished feeds”.