Recent conversations have brought to light the increase of Salmonella in poultry houses. The Salmonella challenge combined with the fast approach of summer makes it the perfect time to talk about water acidification.
When the concept of water acidification was first introduced to the poultry industry, producers quickly saw that lowering water pH below 4 was a necessary component to a Salmonella control program, largely because a high-pH crop environment favors microflora that can hurt poultry performance. Acidification of the drinking water acidifies the crop to encourage the growth of favorable microflora while discouraging microflora that can harm intestinal integrity and function.
There are two types of acids – organic and inorganic. Organic acids are carbon-based and have higher pKa values, which indicates the ability of an acid to lower pH. Inorganic acids are mineral-based and have a lower pKa value, meaning less is needed to reach a low pH environment. Organic acids will require a much higher addition rate to achieve a low pH, which can be costly or simply ineffective.
Acids that contain multiple hydrogen ions such as citric, lactic, malic and phosphoric will impart a sour taste to the water. Mineral acids with one acidic hydrogen can lower pH without a sour taste. If water becomes too sour during acidification, birds will reduce the amount they drink–making palatability the most critical component of a water acidification program. To acidify the crop, water pH should be reduced below 4.0 without reducing water consumption.
Water acidification directed at improving bird health requires an FDA-approved product that will reduce pH levels without affecting the palatability for bird consumption or allowing bacteria to replicate.
Link Between Salmonella and Acidification
Acidifying poultry drinking water with sodium bisulfate (LS-PWT2®) for the first seven days of life provides a second layer of protection to the lactic acid producing bacteria (LAPBs) that are part of the crop’s normal ecology. This helps the newly hatched bird maintain a low crop pH until it has established its own population of stable LAPBs.
Once the crop’s LAPB population has been established, the bird will be able to maintain a low crop pH on its own as long as feed is available. When feed is withdrawn or birds are not eating for any reason, the normal population of LAPBs dies off and Salmonella will multiply in the crop. Acidifying the drinking water to a pH of 3.5 or below during times when feed is not available will prevent the crop pH from becoming too high.
When to Acidify Poultry Water
Water acidification is most critical during the establishment of intestinal microflora and at each feed change when nutrient shifts can create instability in the normal intestinal microflora ecology. Using LS-PWT2® water acidifier to reduce the pH of drinking water to 4.0 during the critical periods of intestinal development helps the birds maintain the stability of intestinal microflora throughout the growing period. The establishment and maintenance of healthy intestinal microflora improves live production performance and cost.
Tools to Understanding Water
LS-PWT2® water acidifier is the first FDA-approved feed grade mineral acid water treatment available to the poultry industry. Due to the unique chemistry of LS-PWT2®, the consumption of treated water is not decreased at higher concentrations as has been reported for organic acids. Because LS-PWT2® has a low pKa, it has a cleaner taste profile and profound acidification properties that should overcome all of the issues of using the weak organic acids.
Need help understanding the status of your water and how best to treat it? Jones-Hamilton Ag has several tools to assess water pH and identify the ideal addition rate of LS-PWT2®. Test your water with a pH meter and pH test strips. And when using LS-PWT2, our new PLT pHacts mobile app has a calculator to help you define the ideal addition rate based on incoming water pH and alkalinity.
Explore our other resources, download the mobile app or contact your Jones-Hamilton rep to discuss how water acidification can help in your battle against Salmonella.