Livestock requires minerals specially micro-minerals, in appropriate amounts as well as in biologically available form for efficient production performance and maintenance of normal health. Deficiencies of minerals occur frequently in diets consisting of common feed ingredients. These must be provided as a supplemental form. Though the requirements of the minerals are in micro quantities, yet they have very important roles in various biological processes involved in the body for vitamin synthesis, hormone production, an activator of enzymes, in collagen formation, tissue synthesis, oxygen transport, energy production, other physiological processes related to growth, reproduction, and health. Mineral supplements are required to fortify animal diets.
There are two major classes of mineral sources: inorganic and organic chelates (metal chelate). However, organic minerals are more effectively absorbed by the body. Essential trace elements chelated with EDTA are the initial generation metal chelate. However, EDTA over protects metal chelated to it. Thus fails to release metal for systemic use and leading to almost complete expulsion from the body. Further research for best ligands showed that amino acids and short peptides can meet this role by protecting transition metals in the digestive tract.
A chelate is described as a metal complex in which the metal atom is held in the center of the complex through more than one point of attachment to the ligand (chelating agent). Natural digestion of foods produces numerous ligands that can complex (chelate) with the minerals in the diet and facilitate their passage from the lumen of the intestine into the cells of the intestinal wall. They eventually chelate with natural ligands that transport the minerals through the body. The introduction of the chelated minerals will increase absorption and utilization of the mineral because of a more favorable binding or stability constant.
Therefore in an animal digestive system, organic trace minerals, those that are bound to the organic ligand such as protein, amino acids, or carbohydrates, may be more biologically available than inorganic trace minerals. Naturally occurring chelating agents like carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, phosphates (phytic acid), porphyrins, and vitamins (vitamin B12 and ascorbic acid) are widely distributed in all living systems.