Poultry production, health and wellbeing are highly dependent upon formulation of balanced rations in terms of energy, protein, and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Among all, minerals are required in fewer quantities, but they are very important to maintain the productivity in poultry. Minerals present in the feeds are less bioavailable and additional supplementation is obligatory to meet the physiological demands of poultry. Conventionally, minerals are supplemented as inorganic salts, which are less absorbed and, thus, a major proportion is excreted to the surroundings creating environment issues. Nano-minerals and organic mineral chelates are other alternative to be used as livestock and poultry feed supplements. Though organic minerals are more bioavailable than inorganic salts, their high cost limits its use. In contrast, nano-minerals are relatively easy to synthesize at a lower cost. Nano-minerals are of the size from 1–100 nm and due to such small size, there is an enormous increase in surface area and thus their biological responses. The biological response studies have signified better retention of nano-minerals as compared to inorganic salts, and consequently leached less to the environment preventing possible pollution. Apart from these, nano-minerals have been shown to enhance growth, egg production and quality, immune-modulation and antioxidant status, and at the same time economize the production by reducing the supplemental dose of minerals and improving the feed conversion ratio. Some nano-minerals and other nanoparticles have strong antimicrobial effects, which have been shown to reduce pathogenic microorganisms in the gut. Nano-minerals seem to be less toxic than conventional mineral sources. Though less, few studies have indicated toxic effects of nano-mineral supplementation at higher dose of application, which should be validated by more programmed studies. Nanotechnology in poultry production system is still in its budding stage and more detailed studies are warranted to validate, establish and search for new effects of nano-minerals as they sometimes produce effects beyond expectation. This review highlights the biological responses of nanominerals on poultry production performance, quality of meat and eggs, tissue retention, immunity, antioxidant activity and antimicrobial actions compared with their conventional mineral sources.
Part of the book: Advances in Poultry Nutrition Research