Animal market is flooded with different feed and drinking water supplements that are used to control the gut microbial populations in a positive way and increase the immune response, similar to how antibiotics in food animals combat pathogenic bacteria.
As, after European ban on the usage of antibiotics, due to their negative side effects and antibiotic resistance, callout for use of antibiotic-free growth promoters increased, which can potentially reduce the use of antibiotics.
Acidifiers are one of those, which perfectly fits in these criteria. In addition to this these promotes nutrient digestion and mineral absorption.
Acidifiers have been used in cattle feed for decades because of their preservation and nutritious properties. Organic acids, which are often used for feed acidification, are produced during animal metabolism and are found naturally in a variety of diets. They have been used as an in-feed prophylactic measure to prevent infections in the feed industry because of their defensive actions against bacteria, fungus, and mould.
Fumaric, formic, lactic, and citric acids, as well as their salts, have been studied for their performance and health-promoting effects. Numerous studies have revealed their involvement in feed digestion, nutrient digestibility, eubiosis in gut flora, health, and performance improvement effects, in addition to hygienic effects and the subsequent reduction in pathogen intake.
Helps in Reduction of pH in Gastrointestinal tract
The gut health plays a crucial role in influencing growth rate and feed efficiency of poultry. Acidification enables lowering of pH in feed and digestive tract of animals. While young animals’ stomachs have a limited ability for producing hydrochloric acid, which increases with age, including acidifiers in their feed helps to maintain the correct pH in the stomach for enzymatic processes and proper protein digestion in the intestine. Furthermore, the acidic environment catalyses the active conversion of pepsinogen, the inactive enzyme precursor of pepsin.
Antimicrobial property to reduce pathogens
The acidic environment also creates a barrier to the entry of bacteria and their colonization in the intestine. Acidifiers in feed influence the pH, which inhibits harmful bacteria development and reduces microbial competition for host resources. Most pH sensitive bacteria are killed off at pH 5, while acid-tolerant bacteria thrive. The lipophilic nature of undissociated acid, can pass readily through the bacterial cell’s semi-permeable membrane into the cytoplasm of neutral pH, where it will dissociate and release protons (H+), lowering the pH inside the cell.
As a result, the microorganisms enzymatic reactions of glycolysis signal transductions and nutrition transport are hampered, causing energy depletion in their efforts to return the pH to normal.
Reduces pathogens hence improves microflora of gut
Based on their antimicrobial mode of action, organic acids can inhibit the growth of undesired pH-sensitive microorganisms like Enterobacteriaceae, while promoting the proliferation of beneficial bacteria tolerant to lower pH. In this view, organic acids can be an optimal tool to control the dysbiosis characterised by coliforms overgrowth and Lactobacilli depression, typical of weaning time in pigs. Short Chain Fatty Acids reduce the pH and promotes the proliferation of beneficial bacteria; thus, offering a probiotic effect in the colon. Blends of organic acids increases the levels of acetic, propionic, and butyric acid produced by microbial fermentation of carbohydrates in the large intestine. Overall, organic acids have the potential to modulate the microflora populations and consequently microbial metabolites production along the GIT
Acidifiers possess influence on energy metabolism
Most organic acids contribute a significant amount of energy to metabolism and should not be disregarded when calculating the energy content of feedstuffs. They operate as an energy source after being absorbed through the gastrointestinal epithelium by passive diffusion as intermediates in the citric acid cycle. For example- 1 m of Fumaric acid produces 18 m ATP (1,340 kJ), it requires 74.3 kJ per m ATP, which is comparable to glucose. The same is true for Citric acid, however Acetic and Propionic acids require 18 percent and 15% more energy per mATP, respectively. Acidifiers’ growth-promoting effects were also attributed to their energy contribution. As a rapidly available energy source, Fumaric acid may have an affinity for the small intestinal mucosa, enhancing its absorptive surface.
Yes, it helps in strengthening the immunity
The use of acidifiers in poultry diets is important for improving the immune system. Citric acid improved the immune response, immunological condition, and body weight of broiler lymphoid organs. Supplementing these organic acids in the diet can help broilers with Enterotoxic E.coli improve their ileal morphology and immunity.
Organic acid supplementation enhanced the jejunum’s crypt depth and villus height, as well as the spleen index. Additionally, the activities of trypsin and chymotrypsin in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as secretory immunoglobulin Organic acids increased the concentration of ileal mucosa.
There are several acidifiers in the market. Nutricare offers an acidifier ACIPURE which acts by lowering the pH of water, feed, gut and microbial cytoplasm thereby inhibiting the growth of pathogenic microbes. The inhibition reduces the nutrient loss due to pathogenic microflora and results in better utilisation of nutrients by the host. It increases protein digestion and enhances pancreatic secretions. It also acts as mould inhibitor.
In animal nutrition, organic acids and their salts are an efficient replacement for sub-therapeutic in-feed antibiotic growth boosters. Higher feed hygiene, lower gastric pH and pathogen suppression without harming beneficial bacteria, stimulation of pancreatic secretions and energy source during intermediary metabolism, improved nutrient digestibility, improved growth performance, and immunity are all visible actions. Higher feed efficiency, greater daily gain, lower feed costs, and quicker marketing time are all economic benefits of using acidifiers.