This fat-soluble vitamin exists in three series: phylloqui-nones (K1) in plants, menaquinones (K2) formed by microbial fermentation, and menadiones (K3), which are synthetic. All three forms of vitamin K are biologically active. Only water-soluble forms of menadione are used to supplement animal diets. The commercially available forms of K3 supplements are menadione sodium bisulfite (MSB), menadione sodium bisulfate complex (MSBC), menadione dimethyl pyrimidinol bisulfite (MPB), and menadione nicotinamide bisulfite (MNB). These contain 52, 33, 46, and 46% menadione, respectively. Stability of these K3 supplements in premixes and diets is impaired by moisture, choline chloride, trace elements, and alkaline conditions. It has been suggested that MSBC or MPB may lose almost 80% of bioactivity if stored for 3 mo. in a vitamin-trace-mineral premix containing choline, but losses are lower if stored in a similar premix containing no choline. Coated K3 supplements are generally more stable than uncoated supplements. Bioactivity of MPB and MNB is greater than either MSB or MSBC for chicks and pigs. Although certain feed ingredients are known to be rich in vitamin K activity (e.g., alfalfa meal), little quantitative information exists on the bioavailability of vitamin K in feedstuffs.
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