Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production

Instead of zinc oxide for pig health, there’s…what exactly?

Posted June 11, 2019 by Dr. Sangita Jalukar, Senior Technical Services Manager

Zinc oxide has been used for almost 30 years in swine production to help prevent scours and maintain pig health. But now, regulations across the EU and Asia are significantly reducing its use because of its unintended environmental consequences. 

This loss of a trusted tool in pig health and nutrition will affect pig farms everywhere. Without zinc oxide, producers may find themselves in a tough predicament where it’s harder to ward off scours and post-weaning diarrhea (PWD), thus increasing antibiotic use for sick piglets or increasing mortality, both of which result in lower profits.

The implications of a zinc oxide ban flow chart

In a time when global protein consumption is on the rise, how are swine producers supposed to maintain production and mitigate losses to diseases like PWD?

Understanding the causes of scours and PWD are critical.

Causes of PWD and Scours.


Stress has always been known to impact performance and immune systems. The stress of the weaning and change in diet type can cause piglets to back off of their feed intake, which increases their risk of contracting a disease.1


At this phase in their life, piglets’ immune systems are not fully developed. This coupled with the removal of antibodies from sow milk from their diet and group housing with other pigs makes them especially susceptible to disease.1

E. coli.

Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) is known to be the most common cause of PWD. E. coli attach to the small intestine and increase the secretion of water and electrolytes—causing dehydration and diarrhea. 1

For most of those in swine production, simply stopping use of zinc oxide will not be an option.  A replacement solution will be needed to keep farms productive and profitable.

Search for solutions.

New research shows that CELMANAX may be one replacement option. CELMANAX delivers Refined Functional Carbohydrates (RFCs)—like mannan-oligosaccharides, mannose and beta glucans—that help animals cope with environmental challenges.

What are RFCs?
  • Mannan-oligosaccharides—short sugar units of mannose
  • Mannose—a monosaccharide
  • Beta glucans—sugar units from the yeast cell wall

These natural ingredients work proactively in the gut, building up the piglet’s resilience to challenges that may come along the way. The more resilient a pig is, the less impact factors such as stress, under developed immunity and dangerous bacteria can have on them.

Expert advice.

Sangita Jalukar, technical services manager at ARM & HAMMER, recently spoke at the Zero Zinc Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. Here are some key takeaways from her presentation:

  • Improving the pre-weaning body weight and enteric health status of piglets may help prepare the pigs transition from pre-weaning to nursery.
  • Research done under European swine production conditions shows using CELMANAX in lactation, creep feed and nursery diets increased average piglet 10-day, weaning and end-of-nursery phase body weight compared to zinc oxide.2
  • In a second study3 done under U.S. swine production conditions, CELMANAX supplementation in sow lactation diets improved weaning weights (BW 0 of nursery phase) compared to control fed sows (p<0.0001) (Figure 1).
  • In the same study continued into nursery, control pigs which received pharmacological levels of Zinc had similar BW compared to pigs from CELMANAX sows at the end of nursery (Figure 2).
  • Similar nursery pig performance can be achieved with the addition of pharmacological Zinc if CELMANAX is fed to sows in the lactation phase.

Losing a trusted tool like zinc oxide will be a challenge for swine producers across the world—but there is hope. New, natural solutions without the same environmental drawbacks are available and ready for adoption.




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2 CELMANAX fed in lactation diets to sows and in creep and starter diets to piglets reduces the dependency on zinc oxide for performance. CELMANAX Research Notes S-94. 2018. Data on file.

3. Jalukar et. al. Efficacy of Celmanax to replace zinc oxide in nursery pig diets. Presented at Zero Zinc Summit in Denmark, Copenhagan, June 17-18, 2019.


About Dr. Sangita Jalukar

Dr. Sangita Jalukar has extensive experience across the poultry production industry. She currently serves as a senior technical services manager at ARM & HAMMER™ where she is involved in the development of new products, conducting multi-species research trials and providing technical assistance to the field sales teams. Dr. Jalukar received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda, India, and earned a post-doctoral fellowship from the University of Iowa.



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