Sulphur

Sulfur, in the form of sulfur-containing amino acids, B vitamins (thiamin and biotin), heparin, insulin, and chondroitin sulfate.

Function:

Sulfur, in the form of sulfur-containing amino acids, B vitamins (thiamin and biotin), heparin, insulin, and chondroitin sulfate, makes up about 0.15% of the body weight. The sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine play a major role in the structural component of almost all proteins and enzymes in the body. Thiamin is involved in carbohydrate metabolism, biotin is a coenzyme involved with intermediary metabolism, heparin serves as an anticoagulant, insulin helps regulate carbohydrate metabolism, and chondroitin sulfate is important to joint health. Sulfur is also necessary for keratin formation.

Sources:

Horses must meet their sulphur requirements from organic forms such as cysteine and methionine. Although about 10 – 15% of total plant sulphur is inorganic, most of the sulphur in plants is organic sulphur present in the plant proteins. Adequate, highquality dietary protein (e.g. from soybean meal) usually provides at least 0.15% organic sulphur.

Daily requirements (NRC, 1989):

0.15% sulphur per ration of dry matter.

Deficiency:

Sulfur deficiency in horses has not been described.

Excess:

In one study (Corke, 1981), horses accidentally fed with flowers of sulphur (>99% sulphur) became lethargic, with colic, jaundice, cyanosis, convulsions and death.

When problems may occur?

Problems are unlikely to occur.

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