Use of organic acids in poultry

Organic acids or as they are sometime called short chain fatty acids, are used in animal feed for many years. They have proven to be excellent ingredients especially in the prevention of gram negative pathogenic bacteria. Controlling programs for  enterobacteriae, Escherichia coli and Salmonella often make use of organic acids.

When comparing the use for different species, it is noted that the use in poultry diets is less than for some other species. This article focusses on the use in poultry and why differences can occur.

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Acidifiers and Buffercapacity

Young piglets do not secrete sufficient acid (HCl) in their stomach. The result is a low entrance barrier for pathogenic bacteria like Escherichia coli to enter the intestine. Additionally protein digestion in the stomach is low, because the stomach enzymes need a low pH for optimal function.

Piglet diets are therefore formulated to assist the piglet to reach a low pH in the stomach. A tool to measure how easy a piglet can reach a low pH, is the buffercapacity of the feed. The lower the buffercapacity of a feed, the easier a piglet can reach a low pH in the stomach.

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