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Summary of Acidifiers

Acidifiers are inorganic chemicals that, put into a human (or other mammalian) body, either produce or become acid.
These chemicals increase the level of gastric acid in the stomach when ingested, thus decreasing the stomach pH.
Out of many types of acidifiers, the main four are :-
  1. Gastric acidifiers, these are the drugs which are used to restore temporarily the acidity of stomach in patient suffering from hypochlorhydria.
  2. Urinary acidifiers, used to control pH in urine
  3. Systemic acidifiers, used to control pH in the overall body
  4. Acids, mostly used in laboratory experiments
Acidifier performance in distal stomach is debatable.

Patients who suffer from achlorhydria have deficient secretion of hydrochloric acid in their stomach. In such cases, acidifiers may provide sufficient acidity for proper digestion of food. Systemic acidifiers, usually given by injection, act by reducing the alkali reserve in the body, and are also useful in reducing metabolic alkalosis.

The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the use of acidifier and herb-acidifier combinations on intestinal microflora, intestinal histology and serum characteristics of broilers at 35 days of age when fed a diet supplemented with natural acidifier (lactic acid and citric acid), and herb-acidifier combinations (natural acidifier and herbs (garlic and Phyllanthus niruri L.) encapsulated and non-encapsulated. Here, 192 (Lohmann) broiler chicks were fed a negative control diet, positive control diet (tetracycline), 1.2% acidifier non-encapsulated (ANE), 1.2% acidifier encapsulated (AE), 1.2% herb-acidifier combination non-encapsulated (CNE), or 1.2% herb-acidifier combination encapsulated (CE). The variables measured were the total colony of lactic acid bacteria, Escherichia coli and Salmonella sp., intestinal histological characteristics (crypt depth, villi number, villi length, and viscosity) and serum (total protein, serum albumin, and serum globulin). Results showed that during the 35-d growth period, there were significant differences.

Acidifiers have been commonly targeted for weanling pigs. Organic acids have been shown to improve growth performance of weanling pigs more consistently than inorganic acids (Kil et al., 2011; Suiryanrayna and Ramana, 2015; Liu et al., 2018). However, inorganic acids have been often considered as an alternative to organic acids because of lower cost. Acidifiers may also benefit grow-finish pigs (Tung and Pettigrew, 2006), particularly under transition or stressful conditions. In sows, use of acidifiers in the diet improves nutrient digestibility and reduces urinary pH, which aids in controlling the incidence of urinary tract infections (Kluge et al., 2010).

The magnitude and consistency of the responses to acidifiers are variable depending on the nature of acids, inclusion rate, combination of acids, and diet composition (Jacela et al., 2009a). For most acidifiers, the inclusion of excessive levels in the diet affects palatability and decreases feed intake. Also, some acidifiers are corrosive and pose handling and equipment issues during feed manufacturing. Generally, inorganic acids are the most corrosive and salts of acids are the least corrosive acid forms.