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Good Chemistry | April 2024

By Cheryl Kepes

Photos courtesy Tracer Minerals LLC

Tracer Minerals LLC combines research and technology to create science-based health products for livestock, plants, and people.

Founder and owner of Tracer Minerals LLC, Chris Schuetze, utilizes his science background and livestock industry knowledge to develop products designed to improve animal health and production. Schuetze’s research through the years has played a pivotal role in the development of technology aimed at maximizing the consumption and benefits of trace minerals. Though his work originally focused primarily on the livestock industry, it’s expanded to include products designed to improve the overall health of people, pets, plants, and crops. The company derives inspiration from the following quote from chemist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr. Linus Pauling, “You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.”

Company Beginnings

Chris Schuetze established Tracer Minerals in 2014. The company, headquartered in Cimarron, Kansas, is solely family owned. Chris’s wife, Carol Schuetze, works as the company’s marketing manager. His oldest daughter, Sarah Montgomery, runs the research and regulatory departments; and his youngest daughter, Rachel Ross, oversees production and warehouse operations. The company’s team of employees consists of engineers, animal scientists, and nutritionists.

Tracer Minerals LLC focuses on creating and marketing amino acid chelated trace mineral products for use in beef and dairy cattle; crops and plants; poultry, equine, swine, goats, and sheep; as well as pets and people. “I love the chemistry of real amino acid chelates because of what it can do for animals and people. It makes such a difference,” Chris Schuetze, owner of Tracer Minerals LLC, said.

Prior to starting Tracer Minerals LLC, Chris worked in the pharmaceutical and animal nutrition sector. He holds a degree in agriculture with minors in chemistry and biology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Science

The products researched, developed, and sold by Tracer Minerals LLC center around technology designed to create trace minerals that are more readily absorbed compared to other trace mineral supplements. Through his many years in the industry, Chris has been a major contributor to the development of efficient, absorbable trace mineral products.

Tracer Minerals LLC’s products stem from processes that have been perfected over 50 years of manufacturing. The company’s signature products, amino acid chelated minerals, are designed to ensure maximum uptake by the body.

According to researchers, many regular trace mineral products on the market breakdown early in the digestion process. Thus, the supplements can lose a significant portion of their efficacy before they can be utilized throughout the body.

According to Tracer Minerals LLC, its products use amino acids to carry trace minerals past the stomach and into the intestinal tract for maximum absorption. The science behind the products comes from a unique chelating process.

Chelation Process

Tracer Minerals LLC utilizes its proven technology to produce amino acid chelated products. The process of chelation entails stabilizing the trace mineral by binding it to an amino acid. “Chelate comes from Latin word claw - like a Lobster claw picking up a piece of sand. The process makes the mineral electrically neutral, so it doesn’t interfere with digestion and resists antagonisms to make it to the jejunum (second part of the small intestine) intact as a whole molecule,” Chris said.

The chelation process molecularly attaches the mineral to a single amino acid which in turn provides an additional pathway of absorption to increase overall mineral levels in the body. Chris explained, “We take a single mineral, for example zinc or magnesium, and attach it to a single amino acid. When we do that, it’s a new molecule that’s absorbed in the jejunum as amino acid, then the amino acid smuggles the metal into the bloodstream.”

Amino acid chelated minerals are the most readily usable forms of minerals. Tracer Minerals LLC employs a unique chemistry in its process that meet the specific requirements of amino acid chelated minerals as defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Benefits of Amino Acid Chelated Minerals

Mineral deficiencies in cattle can cause a host of problems including reduced conception rates, low weaning weights, poor immunity, and feet and leg issues. According to Tracer Minerals LLC, when producers provide amino acid chelated minerals to their animals on a regular basis, they can expect to see improvement in herd hormone function, immunity, and energy utilization. The optimum absorption of trace minerals can also positively impact health, performance, growth, development, and fertility in animals to improve the overall profitability of producers.

Human and Plant Supplements

The science implemented by the company to produce its products for animals is similarly utilized in the development of its products for humans. Tracer Minerals LLC makes a human mineral and vitamin supplement called Life Balance Complete. The supplement is created with amino acid chelated and complexed trace minerals including Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Selenium, Vanadium, Boron, Chromium, Molybdenum, and Calcium.

The company states the metals benefit people’s immune, reproductive, and endocrine systems and help to reduce oxidative stress by supplying minerals required for the completion of many biochemical reactions in the body.

Tracer Minerals LLC also offers amino acid chelated micronutrient fertilizer for crops and plants. The specially formulated fertilizer is designed to be stable and neutral allowing it to pass through and into the plant instead of getting trapped on the leaf’s surface.

Ongoing Research

The company relies on past and current research to guide its processes and product development. Tracer Minerals LLC consistently conducts clinical trials to determine the efficacy and benefits of its products.

One of its comprehensive clinical trials compared feedlot cattle given the company’s amino acid chelate minerals to cattle fed one of its competitor’s products. According to a third-party research group and Tracer Minerals LLC’s findings, the chelate group had a 30 percent reduction in first treatments for illnesses. The chelate group also had a 500 percent decrease in second treatments. Additionally, the animals in the chelate group had 86 percent fewer liver abscesses, healthier lungs, improved cost of gain, and showed a significant increase in profitability at processing.


Innovating and researching the best methods to enhance animal health and the viability of the production animal industry serves as a guiding principle for Chris and his team at Tracer Minerals LLC. The science-driven company looks forward to a future filled with new discoveries and opportunities to advance the overall health of animals, plants, and people.

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