Due to their different chemical structures, different acids have different properties. The response to diet acidification may be affected by the type of acid, inclusion level, diet composition, and dietary buffering capacity. The key basic principle on the mode of action of organic acids on bacteria is that non-dissociated (non-ionized) organic acids can penetrate the bacterial cell wall and disrupt the normal physiology of certain types of bacteria. We call these bacteria “pH-sensitive” meaning that they cannot tolerate a wide internal and external pH gradient. Among those bacteria, we have E. coli, Salmonella spp, C. perfringens. It has been well demonstrated that the state of organic acids (non-dissociated or dissociated) is extremely important to define their capacity to inhibit the growth of bacteria. As a rule, we need more than ten to twenty times the level of dissociated acids to reach the same inhibition of bacteria, compared to non-dissociated acids.

Broad Spectrum Activity Against Enteropathogens

For microorganisms’ organic acids can act as a source of carbon and energy as well as inhibitory agents and this action depends upon the concentration of organic acid, its ability to enter the bacterial cell and the capacity of a microorganism to metabolize the organic acid.  Non- a dissociated form of organic acids is lipophilic in nature and it can only enter the bacterial cells.  Once it enters the bacterial cell,  due to the neutral pH of bacterial cytoplasm it readily converts into dissociated form and releases H+ and A- ions which reduce the cellular pH of the bacterial cell.
The lowering of pH disrupts the enzymatic reaction and nutrient transportation system of bacteria. A specific H+ ATPase pump tries to bring this pH to a neutral level which is an energy-dependent mechanism and results in the depletion of energy within the bacterial cells. Decarboxylases and Catalases are the target enzymes of organic acids and their inhibition finally disrupts the glycolysis of bacteria and anion portion of organic acid becomes toxic inside the cell and causes anionic and internal osmotic imbalance and bacteriostasis is the final consequence.

Control of E. coli, Salmonella, Clostridia

Growth Promoting Effects

Enteric pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, and Clostridium create a negative environment at an internal level. Birds take up these pathogens from contaminated water and feed and first colonize in the proximal digestive tract of birds before moving to the hindgut. With the acidification of water due to organic acid salts in the proximal digestive tract, the introduction of pathogenic microorganisms in the gut is prevented.

Gut Environment Modification

The goal of a successful gut environment modification program is to create an environment that is beneficial for normal microflora and detrimental to colonization by enteric pathogens. Most of the organic acids are considered as best for gut environment modifications.

Alternatives to Antibiotic Growth Promoters

Organic acids have been identified as the best alternative to abiotic growth promoters as they act like AGPs and control the enteric pathogens which compete for essential nutrients with GUT microflora. Other beneficial effects of organic acids include improvement in digestive enzymes activity, microbial phytase activity, reduction in small intestine pH and increased growth of intestinal mucosa.


Water Acidification and Removal of Biofilms

As an essential component and nutrient of the body, water acts as the best vehicle for most of the pathogenic bacteria for poultry which include Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, and Clostridium. Generally, the elimination of waterborne bacteria is very difficult as they are encased in a compact cell wall and many detergents and disinfectants cannot degrade the bacterial cell wall. Additional protection comes from the development of biofilms in water tanks and lines which makes the elimination of pathogens more difficult.

Organic acids have been found to be efficacious in lowering the pH of drinking water and thus don´t allow the pathogenic micro-organisms to grow in the water. Most of the water-borne enteric pathogens cannot grow at lower pH like 4, so with the acidification effect of organic acid a variety of pathogens can be controlled easily, and continuous use of organic acids also eliminates the biofilms.

Salient Features

  • Completely water soluble
  • More than 80 % active acids per kg of product
  • No buffering carrier added (100 % functional)
  • Non-corrosive and no negative effects on palatability


  • Strong effect against enteropathogens
  • Reduces contamination in drinking water
  • Improved digestion and absorption of nutrients