In India, water from borewells or wells contains high levels of minerals leading to high water alkalinity and hardness. As the pathogenic diseases can be transmitted to the poultry via the water system, it is critical to control the level of bacterial contamination in the water source. Hence, high quality water is important to maintain good digestion and healthy gut flora, which will help birds to absorb essential nutrients. Therefore, constant monitoring of water quality is vital to guarantee broiler performance today.
To overcome the limitations of the water quality issue, currently, most growers implement sanitization and acidification practices to improve water quality for broilers. It is essential to understand that these are two different approaches that work together to improve the quality of water; however, one does not replace the other. As a result, acidifiers alone cannot substitute sanitizers that efficiently eliminate the microbial load of heavily contaminated water sources, and for effective sanitation, acidifier should be applied to maintain water pH between 6 and 7. Although numerous individual alternatives are currently available in the market, a valid alternative with the capability of both acidifier and sanitizer is rarely available.
AcidLAC™ W Conc Liquid
AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid is a synergistic blend of organic acids – Propionic acid, Citric acid, Formic acid, Lactic acid, and Didecyl-dimethyl-ammonium-chloride (DDAC) – a potent antimicrobial and antiviral compound, for providing sanitizer effect, used in poultry drinking water to reduce the incidence of water-borne diseases, improve bird health and save the cost of production to customers.
Mode of Action
Organic acids in AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid are weak acids, which means that a certain proportion of the molecules remain undissociated, depending on the acids’ pKa value and the ambient pH level. These undissociated form of organic acids can penetrate the cell membrane of microorganisms and cause cell death by the following mechanisms(Figure-1).
- Affecting the acid-base balance within the cytoplasm.
- Increasing the intracellular protons which decrease pH in the cell.
- Disruption of proton motive force and hence energy production.
- Deactivating RNA transferase enzyme, which affects nucleic acid synthesis.
- The anions within the microbial cell may disrupt the metabolic processes in the cells, including RNA and DNA synthesis.
- This disruption affects cell multiplication and limits growth.
Organic acids decrease water pH and thus enhance intestinal acidification, which in turn decreases digestive pH, improves pancreatic secretion, and has a tropical effect on gastrointestinal mucosa. The reduction of pH at the optimum level in AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid treated water was mainly due to the formation of soluble acid salts which release protons (H+ ions) into the water.
Microbial Inhibition and Commensal Growth:
The use of organic acids, AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid in water controls harmful microorganisms by reducing the pH, as well as through direct activity on the microorganisms. Organic acids in AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid dissociate slowly and the reduced pH for a longer duration forming it bactericidal as compared to inorganic acids that dissociate very quickly. The proliferation of most pH sensitive bacteria (E. coli, Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens) is minimized below pH 5 while acid-tolerant ones survive. AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid efficacy in reducing the pathogenic microflora (E. coli, Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens) in the gut and farm drinking water was well documented and demonstrated by lab-scale studies and the field trials. Each organic acid has its own physical and chemical characteristics, leading to a specific antimicrobial activity. Acetic, lactic, propionic, and formic acids are used primarily as additives in drinking water. Therefore, a synergistic combination of organic acids in AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid with different pKa values is usually more effective in inhibiting microbial growth in water.
On the contrary, acid-tolerant bacteria such as Lactobacillus sp. and Bifidobacterium sp. can tolerate the difference between the external and the internal pH under which the acids can exit the bacteria by returning to their undissociated form at the lower internal pH. Similarly, AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid helps the bird to proliferate with beneficiary bacteria like Lactobacillus around 70% to 97 %.
The main aim behind the introduction of organic acid liquids in poultry drinking water is to eliminate pathogenic bacteria like E.coli, Salmonella sp., Campylobacter sp., Clostridium sp., etc., and reduce pH of water based on its quality but fails to eliminate dreadful water-borne viral contaminations. Along with the synergistic blend of proven antimicrobial agents, such as formic acid, propionic acid, and citric acid, etc., the incorporation of DDAC at 5ppm level in drinking water through AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid renders its antiviral activity on both enveloped and non-enveloped poultry viruses as studied by P. Suresh., et. al. (2005). DDAC, which is the active ingredient in AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid was also studied well on Swine Vesicular Disease Virus (Shirai., et. al, 1997) for its antiviral activity.
Action on Biofilm:
Biofilm build-up is facilitated when vitamins and medications are supplied through water, as their carriers are suitable substrates for microbes to proliferate. As a result, drinking water becomes the source of infection for stall animals. Biofilms can also block the drinking nipples, limiting the intake of water by animals and therefore adversely affect development, production efficiency, and the health of animals. AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquids’ well-developed routine procedure for the cleaning of pipelines can be extended by drinking water to minimize the accumulation of biofilm and thereby reduce the microbial uptake of animals through this path.
The addition of AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid to drinking water may aid in an antimicrobial strategy and support digestion in the digestive tract of the animal by lowering the pH in the stomach. It helps in strengthening the intestinal villi and thinning of the intestinal walls resulting in better digestion, absorption, and utilization of nutrients from the feed. Relative studies reported by Ghazala., et. al., (2011) showed improved metabolizable energy (ME) and nutrient digestibility of crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE), crude fibre (CF), and nitrogen-free extract (NFE) in broiler diets. This increased CP and ME digestibility by organic acid supplementation is linked to the regulation of microbial competition for host nutrients, endogenous nitrogen losses, and ammonia output.
Objective of the Trial
The objective of the trial was to investigate the effects of water acidification and sanitization using AcidLAC™ W Conc. liquid in comparison with the commercially available product of liquid organic acid (OA) and water sanitizer tablet (Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate- NaDCC) on the productivity performance of broilers through their impact on body weight gain (BWG), the mortality rate (MR), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and return on investment (ROI)
Materials and Methods
A field trial was conducted in the Southern part of India in a commercial broiler farm with a capacity of 10,553 birds divided into two sheds. Birds were placed in two different sheds with an open-sided house of mud floor, under the same natural environmental conditions. The farm was selected based on customer request to prove the efficacy of commercially available preparations of water sanitizers and acidifiers in terms of economic benefits. Two groups were maintained for water sanitization and acidification, via. control and treatment groups. The control group contains a product with a synergistic blend of free and buffered organic acids (OA) and a water sanitizer product containing sodium dichloroisocyanurate tablets at 5g. In the treatment group, AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid was treated from 1-42 days, which is a combination of different organic acids and quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC) that play a dual role in water acidification and sanitization. The water was treated with the mentioned products throughout the 42 days trial period, except on the day of vaccination through the water. Each shed was provided with a separate water tank for mixing the water sanitizers and acidifiers. The dosage of products in this study for water sanitization and acidification was based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. The details of the trial are given in Table-1.
Water samples collected from the control and treated farms were analyzed for pH by using the qualitative test at customers’ laboratory within the region. Birds were offered standard commercial broiler pellet feed (pre-starter, starter, and finisher) and clean drinking water ad libitum. Both groups received the same management practices throughout the trial. Zootechnical parameters like BWG, feed intake, FCR, and mortality were recorded on weekly basis by using an experimental design for 42 days. Economics in terms of ROI was calculated for the treatment group, and relative cost advantage/ disadvantage over control was determined.
Performance results of the trial data collected during the experimental period from both the control and treatment groups are presented below.
Weekly Body Weight Gain
Figure-2 presents the effect of the organic acids’ inclusion on weekly body weight gain in broilers. Body weight gain of AcidLAC™ W Conc Liquid showed no difference in comparison and was observed similar to the control group at the end of 42 days. But it was noticeable that the effect of the treatment group was more pronounced during the early period of chick growth, and a positive trend in body weight gain was visible during the first four weeks of trial over the control group.
Cumulative mortality data in the broiler was collected weekly during the trial (Figure-3). At the end of the trial, the treatment group recorded a mortality rate of 6.10% over 8.45% of the control group. It shows a 2.36% cumulative mortality reduction in AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid group than OA and NaDCC group during the entire trial period.
Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR)
Continuous use of AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid in the treatment group showed 2.3-points improvement in FCR than the control group containing OA and NaDCC (Figure-4).
Water pH: A considerable reduction in pH was observed in drinking water of tank & drinker level when treated with AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid (Figure-5) over control group depending on the source water pH.
Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI was calculated to be 2.4:1 in AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid supplemented group over the control group as shown in Table-2.
In summary, the positive effect of AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid on the overall performance of birds attribute to the synergistic mixture of organic acids and QAC, which improves birds’ intestinal tract health by reducing water pH and controlling pathogen load in crop and proventriculus. Tabler., et. al. (2013) and Winchell W (2001) noted that the ideal pH of drinking water for poultry is around 6.5, and the pH of water above 7 is not advisable to administer to poultry birds. Indeed, Chaveerach., et. al. (2004) reported that drinking water supplemented with organic acids could prevent bacterial infection in chickens, as the organic acids in drinking water protect it from pathogenic organisms. Besides, DDAC in AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid is a membrane-active agent capable of diffusing through the bacterial cell wall and disrupts the cytoplasmic membrane causing leakage of intracellular material that leads to cell death. Improvement in AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid group may be associated with an enhancement in nutrient digestibility, as organic acid supplementation has a beneficial effect on the ileal digestibility of nutrients. Studies on Acid LAC™ W Conc. Liquid had shown similar results due to the combined action of DDAC and the blend of organic acids.
In this commercial field trial, broilers that consumed water treated with AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid have shown positive performance metrics and provided a measurable return on investment for poultry producers. In tropical production systems, AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid provides hygienic drinking water and prevents pathogens, as an essential component of the biosecurity program. Thus, acidification of water with AcidLAC™ W Conc. Liquid has beneficial effects on the performance of broilers and may be considered as a cost-efficient option to improve production parameters.
NOTE: References available on request.
by Dr. Bharat Sadarao, Dr. Venket Shelke, Dr. Partha Das, Dr. Vishal Sonkamble and Dr. R Chanthirasekaran, Kemin Industries South Asia Pvt. Ltd.