Organic acid solutions

The need for organic acids

Since animal feed represents the largest financial input in livestock production, it is essential to ensure your investment is protected. At Selko, we have conducted extensive research revealing that interventions to support safety, stability and shelf life can make feed safer and improve feed and livestock producers’ margins.

Spoilage can lead to significant losses for producers. Microbes such as bacteria, yeast and moulds can consume valuable nutrients in feed and produce harmful substances like mycotoxins. Spoilage due to lost nutrients has been estimated to result in losses that range from 5% to 100% of a feed’s nutritional value. Adequate safeguards are necessary to prevent moulds, yeasts, and other microorganisms from proliferating and degrading nutritional value.

Beyond the loss of micronutrients like thiamine and lysine, which are essential for animal performance, yeasts and moulds adversely affect the economic value of ingredients, harming the producer’s investment. Furthermore, harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella, are able to be transmitted to food, possibly affecting human health.   

Organic acids for safe feed production

Understanding organic acids and their synergies helps maintain safety, shelf-life and quality of animal feed. During processing and storage, it is possible to use validated blends of buffered organic acids to safeguard against microbial threats. Their preservative effect enables them to protect against harmful bacteria and fungi.

However, to use organic acids effectively, it’s necessary to understand their modes of action and how best to combine them into effective feed safety solutions. Each organic acid exerts a specific property that has a variable effect against different species of moulds. The metabolic and absorption properties of the different organic acids also differ, and the strengths of acidity per the pKa vary. As a result, one single organic acid cannot deliver the comprehensive benefits needed to protect against microbial threats. To ensure a broad-spectrum effect against enterobacteria, moulds and yeasts common in feed ingredients and finished feeds requires a blend of different acids with different properties.

Organic acids can also support the durability of feed safety interventions after the feed is produced. This is not possible to achive through using one single organic acid to deal with all of the complex safety challenges that exist.

Moisture management agents in organic acid blends also help ensure that the active complex penetrates deep into feed particles, helping the active solution to be better absorbed and retained by feed. By releasing the antimould complex over time through buffering, the blend can prolong feed shelf life further.

Selko continues to invest in research that explores the modes of action behind science-based innovations that support feed-to-food safety.

Organic acids for animal performance and health

Organic acids help prevent animals from taking in harmful microbials through effective feed safety applications. In addition, specific blends of buffered and non-buffered organic acids and additional additives can optimise gut health and overall animal performance. Selko's organic acids also support animal performance, helping make it possible to produce animal protein without the use of antibiotics.

Depending on the desired mode of action in the animal,  it is possible to tailor feed additives in order to deliver the required properties – such as preventing bacterial intake in feed and water, improving the feed conversion ratio, supporting digestion, strengthening gut barrier function, stabilising microbiota in the animal, and supporting health and vitality through immunomodulation.

However, it is always necessary to prove the efficacy of any nutritional intervention. Multiple scientific studies have demonstrated the benefits of organic acid blends delivered through feed and water. We have studied the effects of specific blends of organic acids in controlled laboratory studies, on an array of validation farms and through collaborative projects conducted around the globe.

Organic acids have two main modes of action:

Acidifying the environment

Each organic acid molecule donates an H+ atom that acidifies the solution and reduces the pH-value in the cell.

Preventing bacteria growth

Undissociated acids have an intracellular effect, resulting in the cell spending energy in an effort to recover and ultimately diminishing, rather than proliferating.

Organic acids vs. inorganic acids

Organic acids, such as formic acid and lactic acid contain a common carboxyl group (COOH), which is recognised by microorganisms as a nutrient. Inorganic acids do not contain this carbon atom and, therefore, cannot enter bacterial cells. When inorganic acids are used in feed, the animal’s body needs to use energy to excrete the acids and any form of benefit is lost. Selko uses only organic acids in its extensive solution portfolio.

Manufactured at the highest quality standards

Selko manufactures specific organic acid blends at our main facility in Tilburg, the Netherlands. This manufacturing location is certified and complies to stringent food safety assurance certifications, including GMP+ FSA, Fami-QS, HACCP, ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 17025:2017. At Selko, we believe that quality and regulatory compliance and operational excellence are part of an integrated supply chain, so we ensure our products comply to 100% upstream and downstream traceability, process and quality control. Our organic acid production facilities can be visited on request, to help understand our ambition to always deliver highest quality.

Manufacturing organic acids

Our supply point in Tilburg, The Netherlands, is the main manufacturing plant of Selko's organic acid blends. In this facility, which is GMP+ certified, we evaluate each production batch to confirm its quality. Our products are shipped to more than 80 countries in the world. To learn more about the Selko Tilburg facility, watch the video.