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New classification of zinc additive in the EU: Zinc chelate of protein hydrolysates

The European Commission recently published new regulations for the reauthorisation of zinc feed additives in the European Union (EU).


The European Commission recently published new regulations for the reauthorisation of zinc feed additives in the European Union (EU). The new regulation approves the use of zinc feed additives for a period of 10 years and contains a number of changes compared to the previous authorisation in relation to placing zinc additives on the EU market. The most notable change is the introduction of a brand-new classification of zinc chelate called zinc chelate of protein hydrolysates. The introduction of this new classification is in response to a feed additive application received by the European Commission from a sub-group of five members of the European Economic Interest Group – Trace Elements Consortium (TREAC), one of which is Alltech.

The TREAC consortium requested the requested the European Commission to introduce the term zinc chelate of protein hydrolysates, as it appropriately describes the type of zinc chelate formed upon the binding of a soluble zinc mineral with hydrolysed soy protein.

Dr. Gerry Dillon, EU regulatory affairs manager at Alltech, has welcomed the new classification by the European Commission.

“The authorisation of zinc chelate of protein hydrolysates is the culmination of a lot of hard work, and we look forward to delivering superior quality zinc chelates to the feed market with the backing of the European Commission,” said Dillon.

Chelated products are those that supply organic trace elements, such as zinc, in a form as close to nature as possible,” he continued. “They are known to have enhanced nutritional bioavailability and reduced rates of trace mineral excretion. Typically speaking, products in this class contain two bonding groups for every one metal group, ensuring that the chelated minerals have no net charge and are therefore electrostatically neutral.

“By carefully controlling the hydrolysis of complex protein sources into ‘optimised’ protein hydrolysates, the resultant bond strength between the mineral and hydrolysed proteins can be maximised,” said Dillon. “This ensures that during transit through the gastrointestinal tract, minimal interactions occur between the bound mineral and other feed components, thereby enhancing chelate delivery to the sites of absorption in the intestine. Ultimately, this maximises the bioavailability of the organically bound mineral.”

The consortium has developed a new analytical method that can determine the precise amount of zinc chelate of protein hydrolysates in the chelated organic form.

“This breakthrough technology, which employs Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometry, represents the first time that chelation in a feed additive can be quantitatively determined,” said Dillon. “This means that manufacturers and farmers can be objectively reassured that the zinc mineral they receive when they buy zinc chelates of protein hydrolysate has been analytically proven to contain zinc in the organic chelated form, as opposed to containing unbound inorganic mineral blended with soy flour.”

This technology can decipher genuinely chelated minerals against unbound inorganic minerals blended with soy flour. This is important for safeguarding against fraud in the marketplace and provides feed compounders and farmers with the assurance of receiving a product of genuine quality.

“FTIR is a non-destructive solid state technique, which holds a benefit over traditional methods in that it can analyse samples directly,” said Dillon. “Traditional methods, which require extraction into a liquid phase, can give inaccurate results, as only the soluble fraction can be analysed or the chelate dissociates in the liquid medium. The FTIR methodology has been reviewed and approved by the European Commission and the EU Reference Laboratories, and, in conclusion, the application of the method can not only demonstrate the quality of zinc chelates, but provides assurance in safeguarding against the inadvertent use of fraudulent products circulated in the EU feed additive market.”

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