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Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 1997;10(5): 471-477.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.1997.471    Published online October 1, 1997.
Marginal zinc deficiency affects biochemical and physiological parameters in beef heifer calves
T. E. Engle, C. F. Nockels, K. L. Hossner, C. V. Kimberling, R. E. Toombs, R. S. Yemm, D. L. Weaber, A. B. Johnson
A study determined whether certain biochemical and physiological variables were altered during marginal Zn deficiency. Ten weaned crossbred Hereford Angus heifer calves, weighing 163 2 kg, were utilized. Five calves were fed a Zn-deficient (-Zn) brome-alfalfa hay diet containing 17 mg Zn/kg diet DM, and five calves were fed a Zn-adequate (+Zn) diet with 23 mg Zn/kg diet DM from ZnSO4 added to the -Zn diet (total diet, 40 mg Zn/kg diet DM), for 32 d. At 21 d the -Zn calves gad a reduction (p < .05) in feed efficiency. By 25 d, plasma Zn and alkaline phosphatase concentrations were reduced (p < .05) in the -Zn calves. Blood urea nitrogen, glucose, insulin, IGF-I, Cu plasma concent-ration and Zn and Cu concentrations of red blood cell (RBC) and liver were not altered (p > .05) by the -Zn diet through 25 d. In response to a single i. m. infection of dexamethasone (20 mg) on d 25, calves fed the two dietary Zn amounts showed no changes (p > .05) in plasma or RBC Zn and Cu concentrations, serum IGF-I, insulin, and glucose when measured at 6, 12, 24, 48, 72, and 96 h after injection. In response to an intradermal injection of phytohemagglutinin on d 30, cell mediated immune (CMI) response was reduced (p < .05) in the -Zn calves. These observations indicate that during a marginal Zn deficiency in calves, there was a decrease in feed efficiency, plasma Zn, serum alkaline phosphatase, and CMI response.
Keywords: Zinc; Cattle; Feed Efficiency; Immune Response; Insulin-Like Growth Factor I; Dexamethasone

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