Trace elements are essential nutrients for all living beings, playing very different roles in metabolic processes (e.g. enzyme cofactors, antioxidants, oxygen transport, redox reactions, hormone metabolism, immune response, skin integrity). They are present in all ingredients and used in various forms.
Fish and shrimp uptake trace elements from two major sources: feed intake and branchial absorption (from water). In feed, trace elements are naturally present in every ingredient but in different doses and forms and with different availabilities. As such, nutritionists are obliged to add them in the form of concentrated premix to balance the recipes. These premixes will be different upon the type of formulation used. Vegetable-rich formulas require higher levels of some trace elements, not only because they occur in low levels but also because of interactions with antinutritional factors as phytic phosphorus. In turn, trace elements are less necessary in animal-based formulas (e.g. rich in iron).
The source of supplements is also of utmost importance. Inorganic or organic bound minerals will behave differently in the gastrointestinal tract of the animal, organic minerals being better absorbed and not interacting with each other. Also, not all organic minerals are equal, with different absorption rates being found, and with some sources clearly better than others. Better absorption means not only more available trace minerals but also less excretion and consequently less pollution.
Aquasoja opted some years ago to start using only highly available organic iron, manganese, zinc, copper and selenium, even representing a higher cost. This assures animals are getting the proper dosage and that losses are minimized. In addition, this strategy is crucial in health-promoting feeds, like DORIN, which was the first feed to successfully integrate this novel concept with organic zinc and copper supplementation. Since 2011, all formulas produced by Aquasoja integrate this concept allowing exceptional results to be attained while respecting the environment.