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Cobalt

Ioannis Mavromichalis
In the last three years, actually since the worldwide financial crisis started - which coincided with the founding of my consulting service (I trust the two are not related!) - I have reviewed a lot of premix formulas with a 'mandate' to reduce cost.

 One of the first victims that I hunt down religiously is cobalt. I understand that before the
commercial development of vitamin B12, cobalt was given to pigs to promote bacterial production of B12 in the gut, which B12 would end up eaten by the pigs through the habit of ‘tasting’ their feces now and then.
 
So, why are we still adding cobalt in pig diets? This remains a true mystery to me. I have not found a single reference to cobalt being needed in modern diets. And, being cheap to add no longer applies as an excuse. So far, no premix manufacturer, pig producer, or pig complained when I removed their cobalt.
 
What do you think?

2 comments

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    Dr Nikolaos Kotrotsios

    Hello We should take in consideration that pigs are not sensitive to the cobalt deficiency and dietary cobalt can be only used by small amounts in the intestinal flora of the pig to synthesize Vit B12. From the other point cobalt is not retained in the body to any significant extent and it is quite difficult to promote toxicosis by the cobalt excess for example sheep is tolerated even 1000 times bigger than the recommended addition. So why are we still adding cobalt in pig diets? Probably trademark reasons are indicated for the using on this application. Finally, I am sure that your consulting service does not have any connection with financial crisis!!:-) Regards

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    Giannis Karvelis

    Hi,
    Cobalt in not an essential mineral for pigs (or poultry) and both species rely on dietary B12 as they can't synthesize the vitamin from Cobalt. I guess that Cobalt is added in premixes only for commercial reasons...
    Thanks
    Giannis Karvelis

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