Organic acids are added to feed as antibiotic alternatives to reduce the risk of pathogens on the farm and enhance performance.
Due to its composition animal feed may provide a favorable environment for the growth of various undesired microorganisms such as moulds, E. Coli, Salmonella spp, Clostridia spp, Listeria spp. and Campylobacter depending on various factors, such as storage periods and conditions, moisture, temperature, chemical and physical properties of raw material, and presence of feed supplements as well as feed decomposition products.
Some organic acids are strong antimicrobial substances, proven to kill pathogenic bacteria in the stomach of and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut and support a balanced gut microbiota.
There are two major types of acids. Lactic, fumaric, citric acid are capable of generally lowering the pH of the stomach, thus reducing the acid sensitive bacteria present indirectly. Butyric, formic, acetic, propionic, and sorbic acid directly act upon the cell wall of Gram-negative bacteria.