by Tilman Wilke, Product developer and Daniela Martin, Product management, Dr Eckel GmbH, Germany
First published in International Aquafeed, November-December 2015
Dr Eckel has been selling feed additives since 1994. One of our core competencies is the utilisation of organic acids and their salts for animal nutrition – either as silage enhancers, as preservatives or as acidifiers. Acidifiers are well established in pig and poultry nutrition – especially of young animals (piglets and broiler chicks). The concept of acidifiers has been successfully transferred from agriculture feed to aquaculture feed during the last 10 years.
Here also, the technical qualities of a feed additive play a crucial role. Technical features such as the fluidity, dust, corrosive, odor and hygroscopicity can be the cause of a whole range of problems and dangers in the compound feed production. The quality of feed additives affects both productivity as well as occupational safety. In this article, we wish to share our experience regarding important technical and functional aspects of this transfer.
What distinguishes acidifiers?
In general, acidifiers as functional feed additives are made from organic acids and their salts. Typically organic acids and their salts are included in the feed at a dosage between 1kg/t (0.1%) and 10 kg/t (1%). Some publications report dosages of up to 20kg/t (2%) – but this might have been just for research purposes. Which organic acids are used as acidifiers? A number of different organic acids and salts can be used as acidifiers. The most common acids and salts are:
• formic acid or calcium formate and potassium formate as their most important salts;
• acetic acid or its sodium salt sodium acetate
• propionic acid or calcium propionate
• butyric acid or sodium butyrate
• lactic acid or calcium lactate and – last but not least –
• citric acid with different salts.
Other organic acids and salts used are fumaric acid / fumarates, malic acid / malates, sorbic acid / sorbates. All these organic acids can be distinguished and classified by a number of properties. Very important for the usage as feed acidifiers are differences regarding:
• pka-value, because it determines the degree of dissociation in different pH-environments;
• solubility, because it determines bioavailability.
Another important property is the molecular weight, because it determines the number of acid molecules per gram. Finally the nutritional value of organic acid can also be taken into consideration because organic acid salts like propionates are good energy sources.
Read the full article in International Aquafeed HERE.
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