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Animal Nutrition Views

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.
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Why bother with organic acid salts at all?

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I have always used straight organic acids, but I keep receiving calls to use salts, and I am not sure I understand the reasoning behind these products.

April 4, 2017

I have long been a proponent of using organic acids in diets for pigs and poultry. In fact, I have been following this practice before and after the advent of antibiotic-free diets; I have just changed the amount of organic acids I am using in the different feeds I design.

Of course, I do have my preferred blend of organic acids that changes according to the needs of the feed in question, but I have always used straight acids. In other words, I have been avoiding salts of organic acids. I understand that some acids are highly corrosive (lactic) or smell unbelievably horrible (butyric), and if one opts to use these acids they must either use salts or some form of protected (encapsulated) product. But I am using acids that cause no such problems as I can bring about the same effects without having to revert to the more expensive forms. After all, there is a plethora of organic acids and other ingredients that can increase the concentration of bacterial produced acids in the gut.

Why use a salt when you can use the straight acid?

One question that remains is the use of salts for acids that are neither corrosive or offensive. Why use a salt (less expensive) when you can use the straight acid? A salt of an acid requires conversion to an acid in the gut before it can act as an acid! This action alone deprives me from the function of lowering stomach pH as it consumes a hydrogen cation (increases pH) instead of donating one (decreases one). Perhaps I got this wrong, but I would like it to be clarified by those experts on the topic.

Also, even though salts appear to be less expensive than straight acids, one needs to use more of a salt to account for the weight of the mineral to which the acid anion is bound with. At least, that is what my chemistry (limited as it is) knowledge tells me.

Unless there is something I am missing, I would appreciate any comments on why to use organic acid salts, apart from lower cost, when straight acids are not corrosive or offensive.

Please, do take the time to leave a comment below.

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