Organic Acids - A Review

Published on: 08/02/2017
Author/s : Hafiz Usama Rasheed DVM, Technical Manager Mian Group Of Companies.

Due to the vast expansion of poultry industry challenges also increases. One of them is the control of microbial population which is done by excessive use of therapeutics antibiotics and AGP’s. The indiscriminate use of these products results in the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Apart from resistance it also leads to public health concern. Due to this EU has banned the use of AGP&rsquo...

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August 7, 2017

Thank you, sir Akram, for your point can you send me some published data to support your argument because according to my limited knowledge organic acids does work as mold inhibitors.
Thanks.
my email id is
dr.usama391@gmail.com

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August 7, 2017

Thank you, Olivier, for your comment. about your question adaptation is negligible according to my knowledge.

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August 7, 2017
Dear Dr. Muhammad Akram, You raised a very interesting point. The fungi growth is promoted when dysbiosis takes place which occur more often in case of AGP supplementation. The OA supplementation promotes Eubiosis which naturally keeps a check on fungi growth.
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August 7, 2017
Dear Olivier, it is just a hypothesis and no research at least to my knowledge has been published indicating the development of resistant strains of bacteria against OA.
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Haroon Mushtaq Haroon Mushtaq
PostDoc in Poultry Nutrition
August 8, 2017

Pka value of formic acid is a big question on its release in later part of the intestine. And to what extent it reduces pH in different parts of GIT? Also what kind of substances were used before AGP era? Organic acids? 
Also, think of other organic acids... and other substances.. having additive effects with organic acids.

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Christoph Hutter Christoph Hutter
Poultry farmer
August 8, 2017

Hi all,
Pka value on formic is to my knowledge 3,75
Why it should not be known.
If you feed formic acid pure nearly nothing will arrive in the latter part of the destine.
The ph value is not the big difference in the action in the destine you will come down 0.3 - 0.5 ph and it helps more for better secretion of destine juices.
Resistance is always a discussion but against the action of an acid it is not easy to be resistant.

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Joshua Jendza Joshua Jendza
Animal Nutritionist
August 9, 2017
The pKa of formic acid is known (3.75 as indicated by someone else). As for how this affects dissociation, that depends on the pH of the surrounding environment. The degree of association/disassociation between the cation and anion is dependent on the pH of the solution.

Formic acid added to feed with a pH of 6-7 will completely disassociate. However, once that acidified feed is consumed and further acidified by the HCl in the proventriculous of the bird, it will reassociate by taking up H+ ions released by the HCl produced by the birds. This is because the association/disassociation of acids is reversible.

Generally the pH of the proventriculous has a pH between 2 to 4, meaning that formic acid will be between 2 and 100% disassociated, depending on the specific pH of the microenvironment within the proventriculous. Later on, when the digesta flows into the more alkaline intestine, the dissociation degree will be 100% (any pH at 3.8 or above). However, this is the average pH of the digesta. Within the gut there are acidic microenvironments along the brush boarder membrane that are essential to proper function of many nutrient transporters (any based on an inwardly directed proton gradient), so even in the ostensibly neutral pH intestine, there exist micro environments where some formate would be able to reassociate with H+ and regenerate formic acid from formate.
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August 9, 2017
I agree with Joshua Jendza as far as the questions of @Haroon are concerned, I would suggest you to look at diformate molecule and lot of fog will be cleared. Also, the other organic acids do have bacteriocidal and basteriostatic properties but one has to see the MIC especially when choosing a product that contain a mix of different organic acids. From that angle, in those products, none of the organic acid will be in sufficient quantity to effectively acidify the gut. Diformate molecule has the ability to go down the intestine as shown by high percentage recovery in distal segments of the intestine.
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Faisal Sajjad Faisal Sajjad
Doctor of veterinary Medicine (DVM)
July 1, 2018
Why glacial acetic acid is different than other organic acids regarding poultry GIT?
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Joshua Jendza Joshua Jendza
Animal Nutritionist
July 3, 2018
Faisal Sajjad

All organic acids are different. However, in terms of the GIT of the gut, acetic acid (glacial simply implies pure acid) does not really stand out.

Acetic acid is one of the more dense organic acids, such that on an equal weight basis pure acetic acid delivers comparable acidification potential to roughly 75% formic acid in high pH feeds where full, or near full dissociation can be expected.

However, the higher pKa means acetic acid will not be a viable solution if you are looking to achieve water acidification to a pH much below 4.5. For comparison, at a pH of 4.0 only about 3% of the acetic acid will be in the dissociated state, meaning unreasonably high concentrations would be needed. This is compared with roughly 75% dissociation of the formic at the same pH.

There is also plenty of data showing that acetic acid is not as potent, even on an equimolar basis against bacteria in vitro. This is likely due to the interaction between particle size and membrane diffusion rate of the undissociated acids. The smaller formic appears to more efficiently move across the cell membrane, thus more rapidly achieving strong acidification of the cytosol.
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Christoph Hutter Christoph Hutter
Poultry farmer
July 3, 2018

On top in acetic acid, you often can see that bacterias can grow.
This is the same for Lactic acid if it is diluted some of this molecules can be used as energy to some bacteria or fungus or even Algae
We see more and more of this growth in Europe in systems where it is used for a long term.
If you have a good Formic product you will not see it.

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Joshua Jendza Joshua Jendza
Animal Nutritionist
July 3, 2018
Christoph Hutter This is a good point!

Some of the organic acids can be used as an energy source at lower concentrations, or when used in isolation. This difference can even be seen at the same pH with some acids resulting in blooms and others not. It depends on the microorganisms having the molecular pathway to metabolize the acid. As you say, this is not seen for formic acids. And many blends based on other acids will have formic acid in the mix to try and prevent this known hazard.
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Christoph Hutter Christoph Hutter
Poultry farmer
July 3, 2018

Dear Joshua,

Yes, this is what I see in my daily work and more often.
And if you start with acid, be aware that you remove the first water from the pipes as it will be a really dirty game. If you do acids for the first time, it doesn't matter which one you are using.

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Carlos Augusto Borges Carlos Augusto Borges
Nutricionista
July 9, 2018

All short chain organic acids used in animal nutrition have pKa between 3.8 to 5.0 and, if not protected with vegetable fat, do not pass the duodenum at significant concentrations as they will be absorbed and used as energy sources by different routes metabolic.

Some organic acids such as formic, sorbic and benzoic have a higher efficiency than others in controlling gram-negative bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. However, others such as acetic acid are not indicated, because in several publications they present a growth of microorganisms, mainly salmonella.

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August 26, 2019

How to measure the acid value of Acidifier combination having acetic, formic, fumeric acid, etc.?

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