Organic acids can support antibiotic reduction strategies with a consistent anti-bacterial effect

26 November 2017

The animal production industry keeps searching for strategies to reduce antibiotics while maintaining profitability. Even though the experts already made clear there is not a single solution to the dilemma, the forecast is promising for the industry. An integrated approach seems to be a sound base to face the challenge. And the use of organic acids for health management, a solid partner for it.

“There is not a ‘magic bullet’ to decrease or eliminate the use of antibiotics in animal production. It is necessary to implement a complete multi-disciplinary approach that integrates feed, farm and health management”. That is how the veterinarian Juan Antonio Mesonero Escuredo, from Trouw Nutrition, concluded his presentation at the 31st Congress on Intestinal Health and Immunity in Poultry and Swine, celebrated in Brazil two weeks ago. The presentation started on the role of organic acids in health management, explaining how the use of combined acids is crucial for a consistent anti-bacterial effect.

Organic acids for health management and performance improvement


After the EU banned antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) in 2006, many European animal producers started using organic acids to maintain growth performance, with good results. Nowadays, organic acids are globally used in animal nutrition for microbial management and gut health support. The veterinarian explained that their use could increase body weight, improve feed conversion ratio and reduce colonisation of pathogens in the intestine.

“The buffering process determines in which part of the intestine those acids will work, giving room for combined strategies to preserve gut health”, Mesonero Escuredo said. He showed examples of these strategies, where organic acid- based products can support animal health all the way from the feed and water to the distal intestine: acidifying the water, supporting the natural gut barrier against bacteria and managing the gut microbiota.

An integrated approach for antibiotic reduction

Implementing an integrated approach, Mesonero Escuredo said, has proved to successfully allow a reduction in the use of antibiotics while maintaining or even improving profitability. How to bring this integrated approach to the market? The Trouw Nutrition expert explained that working in programmes that combine feed, farm, and health strategies is key for that. Those programmes combine know-how, services and products to help producers achieve their goals.

Improving feed management includes managing raw materials, formulation, and feed safety. Farm management involves not only biosecurity but also climate and water quality. Health management concerns having an appropriate vaccination strategy in place, performing intestinal health scorings, and the use of feed and water additives. However, Mesonero Escuredo stressed, every case is different and every situation requires a tailor-made approach.