Types of Acidifiers and their Impact on Poultry Industry | Glamac
Acidifiers in poultry nutrition are well proven in reducing harmful bacterial growth in their intestinal tract and impact. Amidst the rising awareness to ban anti-microbial growth promoters (AGPs) in poultry feed for inducing cross-resistance risks of pathogens to antibiotics, acidifiers surfaced as a promising alternative. Though acidifiers are in use in the poultry industry to counter bacteria, fungus, and mold infections and protect commercial interests.
Organic- SCFA, & MCFA and inorganic are some commonly used acidifiers. Organic acidifiers are a broad class of compounds that are water-soluble and free of primary and secondary amines. Organic acids are tested to be excellently effective in enhancing feed and growth performance in poultry. Organic acids used in poultry nutrition are simple monocarboxylic acids such as formic acids, fumaric acids, citric acids, and their salts that fight gram-negative bacteria.
Whereas, inorganic acidifiers like phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid show the best result when combined together than feeding individually. SCFA (short-chain fatty acids) and MCFA (medium-chain fatty acids) are a group of organic acids that holds potential defense mostly against gram-negative and to some extent against gram-positive intestinal bacteria and fungi.
The sole purpose of using acidifiers in poultry nutrition is for improved gut health and digestibility, and to promote the absorption of nutrients.
Since organic acids have additional benefits over inorganic acids, let’s delve deeper to know more about their efficacy in securing poultry commerce.
What are organic acids?
Organic acids are used in the commercial poultry industry to lower and maintain the pH of the intestinal tract of the birds. These are usually added to poultry diet and drinking water in measurable doses to optimally meet the ultimate purpose. Organic acids consist of a group of carboxylic acids and fatty acids in which formic acid, acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acids are short-chain fatty acids. While the list of carboxylic acids includes lactic acid, malic acid, fumaric acid, tartaric acid, and citric acid.
The regular feeding of organic acid curbs the growth of pathogens and bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella in the intestinal tract of poultry and leads to improved digestibility.
Mechanism of organic acid: Potential pathogens in the gastrointestinal tract of broilers damage the villus and also thicken the intestinal membrane, utilizes bird’s nutrition to a great extent. Organic acid when fed in recommended dose penetrates the cell walls of the pathogens and causes the death of the microbes.
Chemistry of Organic acids:
Belongs to the group of carboxylic organic acids, and also includes fatty acids and amino acids. The chemical structure is R-COOH.
Most organic acids with an anti-microbial property that we have mentioned earlier have pKa- which is the pH of short-chain acids (C1-C7).
What are the factors that confirm the efficacy of organic acids?
The following factors greatly impact the efficacy of organic acids are:
- Its pKa value
- Based on its chemical form (acid, salt, soluble, coated or not)
- Molecular weight and value of the acid
- Areas in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT)
However, the efficacy of the acids may vary based on whether the bacteria or pathogens are sensitive to pH or not. Organic acids need proven to be 100% effective on certain types of bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, and C. perfringens, while other types of bacteria like Bifidobacterium sps, and Lactobacillus sps are not sensitive.
Key factors to consider while selecting organic acids for your poultry business:
Before selecting organic acids, here are certain factors to keep in mind.
- Firstly, poultry acidifiers are categorized as strong and weak and weak acidifiers are only used in commercial poultry farming.
- The kind of weak acids is acetic acid, benzoic acid, butyric acid, citric acid, formic acid, lactic acid, sorbic acid, and propionic acid as they shouldn’t be highly corrosive to damage the sensitive tract of broilers.
- Generally, the buffering capacity of organic acids in 5-10g of poultry feed should be around 0.1 M HC1 for reducing the pH in 90 ml distilled water.
- Being in the poultry business you must also be aware of the pH of drinking water fed to the poultry. An imbalanced acid mix in the water and feed can lead to thriving algae and mold which will need additional acids to counter the damage and lead to surging operational costs.
- Enrich your knowledge by reading well-articulated research blogs on acidifiers’ role in poultry compiled by experts.
- Always source premium-grade acids from a reputed brand to ensure optimal health and wellness of the poultry flocks as well as commercial interests.
Here is the expert chart of each acid and their recommended concentration with effects:
2 proven modes of action of organic acids:
As discussed earlier the efficacy of organic acids solely depends on if the intestinal bacteria or pathogens are pH sensitive or not.
For pH-sensitive bacteria, the mode of action involves organic acids in an undissociated state actively defending the pathogens by penetrating through the membrane of the bacterial cell wall.
The acids act right at the internal pH of the pathogens by releasing H+ and anions (A-). Because of this the pH-sensitive bacteria are unable to multiply and the pH of the bacteria is checked to a normal level. Regular addition of organic acid in poultry feed and drinking water eventually hinders the growth of bacteria and pathogens in the gastrointestinal tract of the broilers, leading to improved gut health and nutrient absorption.
For non-pH-sensitive bacteria, the mode of action is slightly different as non-pH-sensitive bacteria are tolerant towards a larger shift between internal and external pH. In the poultry gastrointestinal tract, the acids work effectively in the upper tract (crop and gizzard).
3 ways to use acidifiers in poultry rearing for visible effects:
- Acidifiers can be used in solid form to fight mold in feed and drinking water and balance the pH.
- Spraying directly on the litter to attack bacteria and limit the release of ammonia.
- By mixing into the water to kill water-borne pathogens thus balancing the pH in bird’s gut.
Key benefits of acidifiers in poultry nutrition:
- As an anti-microbial agent
- Improved nutrient digestibility
- Improving GIT and its health
- Improved broiler performance
- Improved layer performance
Bottom line: Organic acids in poultry feed is proven to be the safer and most effective agent in enhancing overall performance and layer performance in birds. Glamac is one such leading poultry nutrition brand in India that offers a premium range of tried and tested new generation acidifiers as Glamocid and Glamocid+ approved by eminent Swiss and German researchers. Our exclusive meat and bone meal processing and storage product Glamocid MBM is one of our best-selling products trusted by modern poultry owner.