Biotin was discovered as a growth factor needed for yeast, and was isolated and characterized in 1936. Biotin was also known as vitamin H and coenzyme R. Chemically, biotin is the compound hexahydro-2-oxo-1H-thieno[3,4-d]-imidazole-4-pentanoic acid.[1]

Biotin is absorbed from the small intestine by active transport at low concentrations and by simple diffusion at higher concentrations. As the animal ages, biotin absorption increases and the active transport site shifts from the ileum to the jejunum. A significant amount of biotin is synthesized by the flora of the colon; however, the bioavailability of colonic biotin is thought to be low.[1-3] Biotin serves as the prosthetic group for enzymes involved in carboxylation reactions. Of the biotin carbox-ylases known to exist, only four are found in animal tissues. These include pyruvate, acetyl-CoA, propionyl-CoA, and 3-methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylases.1-2,3-1

Biotin supplementation has little effect on the growth performance of growing animals. Biotin supplementation of sow diets improved reproductive performance and reduced the incidence of hoof cracks and foot pad lesions.[1] A synthetic diet, or one containing desiccated egg white or specific sulfa drugs, is required to produce a biotin deficiency. Deficiency signs that have been reported include alopecia, spasticity of the hind legs,

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