14 commentsupdate:Feb 17, 2011

Organic acids in the poultry industry

There is currently no single economically viable replacement to antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) available to the poultry industry. An effective alternative to AGP should have a significant, sustainable and beneficial impact on animal production.

There is currently no single economically viable replacement to antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) available to the poultry industry. An effective alternative to AGP should have a significant, sustainable and beneficial impact on animal production (e.g. feed efficiency, body weight gain) and health, be safe for both the animal and human population, be easy to apply and store and provide a substantial return on investment.
In my previous blog, we had a discussion on probiotics as an alternative to AGPs. In this blog, I'd like to talk briefly about the organic acids application in the poultry industry. Organic acids are one of the available replacements for AGPs. Formic, acetic, propionic, butyric, lactic, and citric acids are examples of these substances.
It has been shown that these acids have antimicrobial activity, which results in modification of the gut microflora profile. These compounds have been used in swine diets for so many years with beneficial effects. Studies have shown that these beneficial effects are primarily associated with changes in the gastrointestinal microflora. There are also studies on the effects of these acids in poultry although the amount of available information is lesser compared to swine.
  • - Are effects of organic acids in poultry dependent on the type of ingredients (e.g. corn- vs. wheat- based diets)?
  • - What do you think of using organic acids individually or in combinations?
  • - Do you think that microorganisms in the digestive tract can develop resistance to these compounds?
  • - How about cost-effectiveness of dietary inclusion of organic acids in poultry?

Reference: Collett, S. R. 2004. Controlling gastrointestinal disease to improve absorptive membrane integrity and optimize digestion efficiency. Pages 77–91 in Interfacing Immunity, Gut Health and Performance. L. A. Tucker and J. A. Taylor-Pickard, ed. Nottingham University Press, Nottingham, UK.


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    Diek van Ramshorst

    1. In our experience effects of organic acids are much larger in wheat based diets for laying hens, when it comes to energy metabolizability.
    2. Combinations of some organic acids appear to be more effective, which comes to no suprise because there are several modes of action which contribute to antimicrobial effects and nutrient utilization.
    3. Microorganisms do not develop resistance because organic acids are their oldest enemy and during their evolution, gut microbes have attempted their utmost to overcome the effect of carboxylic acids, which after alle are produced by many of the gut organisms themselves.
    4. Cost effective inclusion is really to be tailored to every individual production situation and there will be many situations in which the best advice would be to use no organic acids at all.

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    Robert Gauthier

    We have not found any difference between wheat or corn based diets provided a good xylanase enzyme is used in wheat diets. Yes different combinations of OAs have to be chosen according to the predominant targets i.e. Clostridium, Salmonella, E. coli etc. Bacteria can develop a "tolerance" not a resistance per se to OAs but under very precise conditions. If bacteria are exposed to OAs under an acidic pH (like in the proventriculus and gizzard) and not killed, they will "remember" and become tolerant for the next exposure. This mechanism is reversible, this is why we say "tolerance" not resistance. This "tolerance" is not plasmid transfered. To avoid this situation we can microencapsulate OAs to avoid exposure to low pH in the upper part of the GIT. Cost effectiveness is very good, again provided the the appropriate technology is used to allow a low level of inclusion.

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    Dr Ravi Pachaiyappan

    In our experience we found organic acids are very effective in many cases farmers failed with conventional antibiotics, in addition pathogen reduction capabilities of organic acids helps in better performance in the birds. organic acids along with probiotics in the first 14 days of chicks we have consistently got 42-51grams weight additional gain. But it all depends on the quality of organic acids and the combination. We strongly believe organic acids perform better

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    Dr. Manal Sulum

    We found in our experience, as we used drinking water vaccines, organic aids greatly interfered with vaccines efficiency as they kill or inhibit the conaminants includin live vaccine and the result was broilers with reduced wieght and high mortality rate due to subclinical diseases.

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    Dr.fariborz sharifian

    in our experience effects of organic acids are very effective in many caces farmers failed with antibiotics.

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    Dr SMFBA Sabur, FTDC Trade & Consultation, Banglad

    1. I dont think so.

    2. Organic acids should be used in combitaion to get best results.

    3. Yes, a bit but not like resistance caused by using antiiotics.

    4. May be cost-effective if organic acids are not included in the feed.

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    Dinesh Kulkarni

    In my opinion for the broilers butyaric acid has the highest activity for namely two reasons high PK values and its ability to be soluble in water and fats. Also as per my experience these acids are of highest value in prestarter and starter diets
    with negligible or almost no impact in finisher feeds

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    Dr. Youssef Attia, Professor and Dpt Head, Egypt

    Organic acids are useful tools to control pathogens and improve feed quality, however, their use should be based on other available feed additives e.g. probiotics and prebiotics, enzymes etc and their relative prices to the others considering the mode of actions an d the expected outcomes . The next step is to get the benefits of the available fed additives to reach a combination which could maximum production, improve feed efficiency and control pathogens. at the same time, since different mode of actions is exist.

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    Prof.Dr Dhiya Alhassani

    Yes, using organic acids could improves poultry performance. Birds do not need these acids in the upper part of digestive tract, the exact action of these acids are in the lower part(intestine region), so it is important to improve techniques of caoting these acids to avoid using high levels of acids that cause some problems in inner layer of digestive tract.

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    Sekhar Basak

    A blend of organic acids with synergistic effect in reducing the pH value coupled with good MICs against the enteric pathogens can be highly useful and a perfect substitute to AGPs. It is also important that the acids are released at the target site in the intestines to show useful effect. A noteworthy improvement in performance has been experienced with such blends of acids and their salts. No resistance pattern has been so far detected with such usage.

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    Dr.Amir Reza Bidgoli, Damin Teb Co, Iran

    Surely we have to prepare some formulations in which different amounts of organic acids, Vitamins, and ... are combined for prticular problems.
    As we have learned from the nature, if farmers use organic acids spontanously, the riscue of resistance will be very high.
    These kinds of acids are cheaper than AGps, So if farmers use them after Vet consulatation, the cost-benefit balance will be better.
    All means that we have to learn more about organic acids and try to prescribe them as a natural therapy not as a part of diet.

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    professore dr. ahmed bekhit ali

    the alkalinity of drinkinig water may harmfuel the live vaccine so adjaccment the ph.will correct these fact. also acidic ph in the intestine improve haelthy microfloura againest pathogenic bactria

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    Organic Acids is a good solution for controling pathogens. OA's work on principal of lowering PH and thereby controlling the growth of pathogents and combination of various acids is very important. surprisingly each OA available has differet combinations depending on the company manufacturin it. In its place butric acids is more effective in the lower digestive systems,unlike OAs, where concentration of pathogen is more. Butric acid is very effective both for Broilers and Layers.

  • Ahmed Karar Seed

    Word on pH rather than bactericidal.
    Dependent on our pH.

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