Over the last decades, medicated zinc oxide played a crucial role in pig production to prevent post-weaning diarrhoea in piglets. However, stricter regulation in Europe and around the world is pushing the feed additive industry to step up and find solutions to replace pharmaceutical levels of ZnO.

The ban of zinc oxide in the European Union is restricted to medicated feeds which are prescribed by veterinarians. This does not apply to the nutritional usage of zinc oxide which remains the dominant source of zinc utilised by the feed industry.

Replacing medicated ZnO requires to clearly understand the mode of action of this molecule that supported the industry over the years. An alternative cannot be designed without including zinc.

ZINCOSUPP is the most ambitious research program on ZnO ever launched.

This research program is named ZincoSupp, which refers to:

  • SUPPression of pharmacological ZnO
  • SUPPlementation of the right zinc oxide source and at the right dosage.

The main goal of this large-scale R&D programme is to elucidate the mechanism of action of high levels ZnO in preventing diarrhea in piglets and offer solutions to the upcoming regulatory challenge in the EU by highlighting benefits of zinc from a potentiated source HiZox® on gut morphology, function and health versus other zinc sources available. 

Animine HiZox

The project brings together several well recognized Universities from Europe. Under the guidance of reputed scientists, these universities will drive several PhD thesis projects for Animine.

In addition, two complementary PhD thesis projects will further investigate the role of zinc sources on the utilization of nutrients and manure management:

  • The research program led by the University of Hohenheim and with contribution from the University of Georgia (USA) will look at the interactions of zinc sources with phytases in broiler chickens.
  • Another project hosted at INRAe will evaluate the impact of trace minerals, including zinc, on biogas in pig production.

Navigate & click on the map to discover our partners

Agathe Roméo
Dr. Alessandra Monteiro
Professor J. Zentek
Dr. Oluyinka Olukosi
Dr. Jean-Yves Dourmad
Francine De Quelen
Professor P. Trevisi
Professor M. Rodehutscord

Despite the EU deadline on June 2022, the transition phase has started also beyond European boarders. Countries such as China, Korea, Canada have implemented reduction plans already.

The 6 reasons why reducing ZnO dose is important

The use of constant and high dose of ZnO is known to have adverse conditions. Hereafter the 6 reasons why reducing its usage.

1. Contamination by heavy metals & impurities

Impurities in commercial zinc oxide are hazardous for animal and human health when product quality is not strictly controlled.

Learn more:

Heavy metals in pig production

Impurities in standard ZnO

2. Nutritional interactions

  • Impaired iron status of weaned piglets.
  • Negative effect on phytase activity.
  • Antagonistic effect with feed acidifiers.

Learn more:

Factors affecting Zn fate

Phytase interaction

3. Zinc toxicity

High doses of zinc oxide may affect piglet health if used for a long period.

Learn more:

Negative effects of high ZnO

4. Reduced palatability

Palatability is key in stimulating the piglets appetite. High levels of zinc oxide may degrade feed intake.

Learn more:

High ZnO palatability in piglets

ZnO supplemented feed in piglets

5. Environmental concerns

High levels of zinc oxide supplementation after weaning increases by almost 30 percent the total quantity of zinc excreted in the pig’s growing life.

Learn more:

Zinc fate in animal husbandry systems

siMMin™: simulate zinc in feeding programs of pigs

Footprinting of ZnO in pig production

6. Zinc and microbial resistance

Intensive usage of zinc in animal diets used in combination with antibiotics favor the development of bacterial resistance.

Learn more:

ZnO on intestinal microbiota

ZnO on antibiotic resistance

Zn bacterial resistance

Watch our ZincoSupp Webinar (December, 2020)

ZnO in piglets diets: what we know, what we don’t know?

Pr. Dr. Jürgen Zentek (University of Berlin, Germany):
Mode of action of pharmacological levels of ZnO. What do we know and what can we use for future strategies?

Other Publications of interest