11 commentsupdate:Sep 24, 2012

Copper Oxide

Ioannis Mavromichalis, PhD
I have just finished reviewing a trace-mineral premix formula for an integrator who is buying his premixes from a nutrition supplier. The integrator only specifies the nutrient levels and the supplier provides the different salts mixed up in appropriate proportions along with a carrier. This is quite normal in most cases I have reviewed.


But, not for the first time, I noticed that copper oxide was used as the only source for copper in the premix.

Now, it is not widely know, but it is very well documented, that copper oxide (unless it is of pharmaceutical grade) has practically zero bioavailability for all monogastric animals. This is textbook information! So, adding copper oxide is like adding ‘nothing’.

So, why animals don’t suffer from copper deficiency? In fact they do, but rarely and only marginally. The reason being that most natural ingredients contain enough copper (a typical diet based on maize and soybean meal contains about 8-10 ppm natural copper) to meet their daily needs.

I would be interested to know how prevalent is the use of copper oxide in the different countries around the world?


  • no-profile-image

    YC Chong

    Copper oxide is not common in Asia. Copper Sulfate is the main mineral used in mineral premix.

  • no-profile-image

    Dr Ali Ahmed

    Normally Copper sulfate is used in premixes in Pakistan.

  • no-profile-image

    sayed abd elhamid

    I'm a nutritionist in "Kuwait", copper oxide not common in mineral premixes we use, common salt is sulfate

  • no-profile-image


    copper sulphate is preffered in India sulphur is precurser for sulphur containing amino acids vital for protein molecule /nirtrogen fixing is speeded up by yeast in feed/stops ammonia,methane

  • no-profile-image

    Muhammad Mazher Anwar, MSc

    Copper has two valancies i.e., CopperI (cuprous) and CopperII (cupric). The type of copper available to the birds is copperII which is present in cupric sulfate pentahydrate (CuSO4.5H2O) as well as cupric oxide (CuO). The former comes as blue salt and latter as black salt.
    The cuprous salt (Cu2O) comes as red salt and not available to bird.
    This sotry is same as that of ferrous and ferric salts. Iron present in only ferrous salt are available to the birds.

  • no-profile-image

    Dr Haroon Mushtaq

    There is difference in copper bio-availability due to its valence form. Cupric oxide (CuO) has zero bio-availability when compared with Cuprous oxide (Cu2O) which is 100% available in animals. And the only reason to use copper oxide source in animal feed due to its high percentage of copper, moreover occupying less space in premix.
    One thing more, the term solubility of Cu salts in either water or acid is not a reliable measure of bioavailability. Cuprous oxide, for example, is very insoluble in both water and acid, but the Cu in this compound is as bioavailable as that in CuSO4 � 5H2O (Baker, 1999).

  • no-profile-image

    Dr. Ali R. Leon

    Very good information about copper oxide used in premixes for monogastric it is nice information, thanks to Dr. Haroon from venezuela

  • no-profile-image

    Dr Atef Abou Zeid

    Copper oxide is not common in Egypt. Copper Sulfate is the main mineral used in mineral premix.

  • no-profile-image

    dr. asaad sabbgh

    it is a very good information , by the way all the trace minirals which are used in poultry premix has different % of bioavailablity so we have to be very careful for all trace mineral type not only copper

  • no-profile-image

    Tarusenga Munyanyi

    copper oxide is not commonnly used in Zimbabwe most of these trace minerals premix are not properly incorperated into the feed but they are inabundance in most feed raw materials like maize,soya it is also influenced by its content in the soil.

  • Comment deleted by a moderator

Load more comments (7)

Or register to be able to comment.