The impact of feeding supplemental minerals to sheep on the return of micronutrients to pasture via urine and faeces

Pei-Tzu Kao*, H Fleming, Helen Warren, Teagan Darch, Steve P. McGrath, Heather L Buss, Michael R.F. Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


The form (organic versus inorganic) of minerals (Se, Zn, Cu and Mn), supplemented to sheep (Charolais × Suffolk-Mule (mean weight = 57 ± 2.9 kg) at two European industrial doses, on the return of micronutrients to pasture via nutrient partitioning and composition in sheep urine and faeces was investigated. This gave four treatments in total with 6 animals per treatment (n = 24). The form of the supplemented minerals did not influence the excretory partitioning of micronutrients (Se, Zn, Cu and Mn) between urine and faeces, nor on their concentrations in the excreta. The two doses trialed however, may influence the Se flux in the environment through altering the ratios of Se:P and Se:S ratios in the faeces and Se:S ratio in the urine. Administration of the mineral supplements also improved the retention of P in sheep reducing its excretion via urine. Although the concentrations of readily bioavailable micronutrients in the faeces were not affected by the mineral forms, there were differences in the more recalcitrant fractions of Se, Zn and Cu (as inferred via a sequential extraction) in faeces when different forms of supplemental minerals were offered. The potential impact of these differences on micronutrient flux in pasture requires further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2747
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded through a strategic alliance between Rothamsted Research and Alltech Bioscience Centre which funded the lead author’s PhD.

Funding Information:
Sarah Dunham, Mark Durenkamp, Aranzazu Louro-Lopez from Rothamsted Research helped with some work of the sample preparation and analysis. Andrew Mead and Kirsty Hassall from the department of Computational and Analytical Sciences of Rothamsted Research helped with the experimental design and randomization of the experimental animal. The report contains data provided by the North Wyke Farm Platform, a UK National Capability supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) (BBS/E/C/000J0100).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


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