Minerals are understood to be the metals that are part of enzymes, as part of the active group or as co-factor.

The presence, availability and ratios of these minerals determine the course of a wide range of biological processes in a complex, where many other substances and factors also play a role. Here, management is understood to be the limiting factor. If this constraint is removed, another factor becomes limiting. In our research we focus mainly on iron, manganese, zinc and copper.

Influence of pH

As the pH rises, the availability of iron decreases and the availability of manganese and zinc compared to iron increases. This happens in soil as well as in the intestine of the bee. It is interesting that royal jelly fairly acidic (pH 3.5 – 4.5). There is, therefore, an environment which is favorable for the solubility, availability and supply of all minerals.

Influence of chelates

The availability of metals is influenced by the presence of chelates. Chelates act as a mineral buffer, have a generally inhibitory effect on bacteria and change the competitive relationship among bacteria. Chelates are substances that can bind a {metal}2+. As chelate these metals are soluble and in this form can be easily transported. The availability of metals is then less dependent on the pH. Examples of chelates are EDTA, humic acids, gluconic acid, thymol and other essential oils. The degree of binding of metal to chelates differs, depending on the chelate and metal. In other words: certain chelates bind certain metals very well, or one metal binds more strongly to a certain type of chelate than another metal. With this last feature of chelates the availability of the various minerals can be influenced selectively.

Binding to amino acids and proteins

Amino acids and proteins can also bind metals and play a role in the transportation. This applies particularly to the so-called transport proteins, for example iron and manganese transporters. Transport proteins, for example, can ensure that minerals enter the cell, are removed from the cell, or end up where they are needed.