Organic acids and its effect on broilers’ gut health

19-01-2017 | |
Zieuwent, kuikens op maissilage. fotografie Hans Prinsen
Zieuwent, kuikens op maissilage. fotografie Hans Prinsen

Researchers from Egypt looked at the effect of formic acid and potassium diformate on performance, immunity and the gut health of broiler chickens.

Acidifiers such as pure organic acids have been used as feed preservatives for protecting feed from microbial and fungal destruction. Organic acids are also know to suppress the growth of acid intolerance bacteria such as E-coli, salmonella spp., and Clostridium perfringens and their ability to reduce pH in the stomach, which enhance pepsin activity, and increases the digestibility of nitrogen, phosphorus and minerals.

To further investigate the potential of certain organic acids for improving gut health, and hence serve as alternative for antibiotics, a study was carried out at the poultry research farm of the faculty of veterinary medicine of Cairo University. In this study, published in the Journal Animal Nutrition, 360 one-day-old broiler chicks were divided in to 3 groups with 3 replicates of 40 chicks each. The trial continued for 35 days.

  • The control group was fed only a basal diet (G1).
  • Group 2 (G2) were fed basal diet supplemented with formic acid (FA) (5 g/kg diet).
  • Group 3 (G3) received basal diet supplemented with potassium diformate (KDF) (5 g/kg diet).

The results show that FA supplementation, irrespective of the form, had a beneficial effect on performance, and immunity of broiler chicken without having any significantly effects on blood biochemical parameters. Moreover, FA is effective against acid intolerant species such as E. coli, Salmonella and Clostridium count in caecum. However, KDF is more effective than FA as little amount of FA reaches small intestine due to metabolism and absorption. While KDF permits a proportion of FA to pass through the foregut intact and enter the small intestinal tract.

The full study can be accessed here.

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Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor