Blends of Organic Acids Improve Performance and Gut Health of Broilers

Enteric diseases in broilers are a big challenge and has financial implications.  The diseases lead to high production losses due to poor digestion and absorption, reduced weight gain and higher FCR.  Additionally, with increasing awareness about anti-microbial resistance (AMR) and strong consumer preference for antibiotic-free chicken, controlling enteric diseases becomes even more crucial. Necrotic Enteritis (NE) is one such economically important enteric bacterial disease in the poultry industry caused by Clostridium Perfringens. It compromises the productivity of the farm by increasing mortality, reducing growth rate, and deteriorating the feed efficiency. The subclinical form of Necrotic Enteritis can be critical, as it reduces feed efficiency without increasing mortality or any sign of obvious disease symptoms or pathology.

Organic acids and their blends have been used for decades due to their preservative effects in feed and effect on the proximal gastro-intestinal tract.  Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are known for their antibacterial effects. Organic Acids are also gaining popularity as a potential alternative to AGPs in poultry industry to avoid occurrence of microbial or fungal diseases.

Research trials were conducted by Trouw Nutrition to investigate the effects of blends organic acids (OA) on growth performance – as alternatives of antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) and the impact on necrotic enteritis in broilers.

Broad spectrum solution for feed hygiene and better performance

Organic acids including short chain fatty acids (formic acid, propionic acid, acetic and lactic acid) have been reported to have antibacterial properties with their effect more pronounced in acid-intolerant bacteria and medium chain fatty acid (Caprylic, Capric and Lauric acids) are known to strongly reduce clinical effects of artificially induced Necrotic Enteritis in broilers.

Researchers found that a combination of SCFA and MCFA effectively control gram negative and gram-positive bacteria in feed. Selacid GG MP, the comprehensive gut health solution by Trouw Nutrition, contains blends of free and buffered SCFA and MCFA which control bacterial contamination in feed and acts as an antibacterial in gut system of poultry. Selacid GG MP helps to maintain a healthy gut environment for the optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients thereby enhancing performance under disease challenge.  The broad-spectrum action was also found to have a strong anti-clostridium effect.

The NE challenge study of Selacid GG MP was conducted and results with AGP Zinc bacitracin were compared. Table 1 and Fig.1 show the proof of improved growth performance and broiler health during gut health challenge.

Table 1. Treatment applied in study

Feed treatmentChallenge
TreatmentAGP (Zinc Bacitracin)Selacid GGEimeria antigensClostridium perfringens
Non-challenge control
Challenge controlDay 9Day 14 and 15
AGP50 ppmDay 9Day 14 and 15
Selacid GG2-1.5-1 kg/tDay 9Day 14 and 15

Fig.1: Average final body weight in broilers on 35 days              

Fig 2: FCR in broiler from day 1 to 35 days



Necrotic enteritis is most prevalent enteric bacterial disease in the poultry specially in antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) free chicken production. Globally much research is going on for alternatives of AGPs in poultry. Selacid GG MP is a proven solution present in the market to lower FCR and better BW due to increased protein digestibility, absorption and improved health status of birds. The various acids control the microbial pressure and hence maintain a stable proximal intestinal microbiota, which leads to enhanced zootechnical performance in poultry. Therefore, it can be stated the combinations of organic acids present in Selacid GG MP (SCFA & MCFA) reduce mortality of bacterial infection and reduce the incidence of necrotic enteritis impacts on birds.

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