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Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) was discovered in 1931 as a growth factor (“bios”) for yeast cells. Found in virtually every food and feedstuff, the vitamin was named by scientists after the Greek “pantos” which means “from everywhere.” However, although the presence of vitamin B5 is widespread, concentrations in feedstuffs are usually low, especially in cereal grains. Richest feed sources include alfalfa hay, peanut meal, soybean meal, molasses, yeast and wheat bran. Although relatively low in pantothenic acid, corn plus SBM provides a broiler starter with good bioavailability of about 20% of the chick’s requirement. After its discovery, synthetic pantothenic acid was soon available as the active d-isomer (d-pantothenic acid) which when combined with calcium yields “Calpan”, one of the more stable vitamins in modern vitamin premixes.
Deficiency symptoms are non-specific, such as poor growth and dermatitis. However, hatchability in broiler breeders can be greatly reduced compared to growth rate, so that B5 requirements are higher for breeders (15 mg/kg of ration) than layers (8 mg/kg) or broiler finishers (10 mg/kg). Similarly, gestating/lactating sows have the highest requirement in swine (35 mg/kg ration), with growing/finishing pigs and replacement gilts the lowest at 15-20 mg/kg.
Pantothenic acid functions in virtually all pathways for protein and energy (fat and carbohydrate) metabolism, and is therefore a critical supplemental vitamin for all monogastric animals. In a broiler premix, Calpan is the most expensive B vitamin and because of its relatively high use rates often ranks in the top 3 costs of a broiler vitamin premix.
18 July 2022
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