Acids and Water Sanitisers

There is a lot of talk about acids and their role in poultry production. However, the subject is often confusing and often you see the wrong product used at the wrong time. Not all acids are the same and they definitely have different actions depending on what acid or mix is used. Simply put, there are acids which will affect the gut microbiome in a beneficial way and other acids that act as a sanitiser of equipment or water lines. The acids that work in the bird’s intestine are generally short chain fatty acids such as citric acid, butyric acid and propionic acid. These are weak acids which means they lose their hydrogen ions when added to an alkaline water or are in an alkaline environment. Water has a pH of 7 which will lead to these weak acids losing their hydrogen ions (dissociating). Why is this important? The short chain fatty acid (SCFA) is used by some bacteria as a nutrient. But in some types of acid hating bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella, it crosses the bacterial cell wall and then dissociates within the alkaline bacteria which damages the bacterial metabolism and can lead to bacterial death. That all sounds great until you realise that the bacteria, which are alkaline environment lovers such as E. coli, tend to inhabit the lower intestine. Therefore it is very important to deliver the SCFA dissociated to the lower intestine. To protect the SCFA from the less acidic intestinal environment and to ensure it arrives in the lower intestine able to act, it is either coated if in feed, or buffered if in water. The other type of acids used in poultry production is for line cleaning and is not a SCFA. Different types of SCFA are more effective than others and specific SCFA such as butyric acid have a positive effect on the development of the gut cells as well as gut immunity. Hydrogen peroxide is a water sanitiser and often sold with added silver. These products, such as Aqua-clean, are very good line cleaners but are not true acids and definitely have no effect on the gut microbiome compared to SCFA. There are many mixtures of SCFA on the market and they are often undisclosed mixtures of various acids. They might be buffered and some products have added copper and zinc. Acids are not as regulated as medicines and therefore are not directly comparable. They are not expensive and cost about £3 to treat 1000 litres of water. It is very important that the correct mixture is chosen and this depends on the desired effect. It is not as simple as “acidifying” the intestine.

Ultimate Acid
Showing 1 to 3 of 3 (1 Pages)