Effects of zinc propionate supplementation on growth performance, skeletal muscle fiber, and receptor characteristics in beef steers

Kimberly B. Wellmann, Jessica O. Baggerman, W. Clay Burson, Zachary K. Smith, Jongkyoo Kim, Jerilyn E. Hergenreder, Whitney Rounds, Bryan C. Bernhard, Bradley J. Johnson

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A randomized complete block design experiment with 32 yearling crossbred steers (average body weight [BW] = 442 ± 17.0 kg) fed a steam-flaked corn-based diet was used to evaluate the effects of dietary Zn (KemTRACE Zn propionate 27; Kemin Industries, Inc., Des Moines, IA) supplementation on live growth performance, skeletal muscle fiber, and beta-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) characteristics during the finishing phase. Steers were blocked by BW (n = 4 blocks; 8 steers/block), assigned to pens (n = 4 steers/pen), and randomly assigned to the following treatments: Control (CON; 0.0 g/[head (hd) d] of additional Zn) or additional dietary Zn (ZnP; 1.0 g/[hd d] additional Zn). The basal diet contained Zn (60 ppm dry matter basis) from ZnSO4; additional Zn was top-dressed at feeding. Ractopamine hydrochloride (RH; Optaflexx: Elanco Animal Health, Greenfield, IN) was included at 300 mg/(hd d) for the final 28 d of the 111-d feeding period. Longissimus muscle biopsy samples, BW, and blood were obtained on days 0, 42, 79, and 107. Final BW was collected prior to shipping on day 111. Biopsy samples were used for immunohistochemical (IHC), mRNA, and protein analysis. Serum urea nitrogen (SUN) and nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations were measured. Steers fed ZnP had a greater average daily gain (P = 0.02) and gain to feed ratio (G:F; P = 0.03) during the RH feeding period compared with CON. There were no differences (P > 0.05) in other growth performance variables, carcass traits, mRNA abundance, or relative protein concentration for fiber type and β-AR. Fiber types I and IIA had no differences in the cross-sectional area; however, the IIX area was greater for CON (P < 0.04) compared with ZnP and increased (P < 0.02) over time. There were no differences between treatments for the β1-AR density (P > 0.05) in skeletal muscle tissue throughout the study. A treatment × day interaction was observed in β2-AR density (P = 0.02) and β3-AR density (P = 0.02) during the RH feeding period, where the abundance of the receptors increased with ZnP but did not change in CON. Compared with CON, ZnP had greater (P < 0.01) mean NEFA concentrations. Mean SUN concentrations did increase by day (P < 0.01). Additional dietary Zn, supplied as Zn propionate, upregulates β2-AR and β3-AR and improves growth performance in feedlot steers during the RH feeding period, likely through a shift of resource utilization from lipogenesis to muscle maintenance and hypertrophy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberskaa210
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Beef
  • Beta-adrenergic agonist
  • Trace mineral
  • Zinc


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