Functions of Copper
In biological systems, copper is primarily a catalytic metal. Its most important function is to allow the system to deal with iron.
Copper activates senzymes in plants which are involved in lignin synthesis and it is essential in several enzyme systems. It is also required in the process of photosynthesis, is essential in plant respiration and assists in plant metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins.
Animals need Copper (Cu) for body, bone and wool growth, pigmentation, healthy nerve fibres and white blood cell functioning.
There are two main causes of copper deficiency in sheep and cattle: low copper levels in plants due to copper-deficient soils and an induced deficiency caused by excessive levels of molybdenum and sulphur in pasture or feed supplements.
Copper deficiency in plants
Copper deficiency in animals
|Weak clover nodulation||Loss of pigment from coloured hair|
|Low protein in grain||Falling disease|
|Necrosis of the leaf tips||Swayback or enzootic ataxia of lambs|
|Dark green leaves||Increased incidence in fractures in bones|