Dairy Articles

For Project Reports & traning on Poultry, Dairy, EMU, Goat, Sheep, Milk Chiling
Plant, Agriculture Horticulture & Bulkdrugs/API/Chemicals.
Contact Mr. Raghu. Email: [email protected]

Poultry Articles Navigation

Drinking Water Acidification in Poultry

You are here: Home > Poultry > Articles >

Drinking Water Acidification in Poultry: A Novel Approach

Dr R Sureshkumar, Product Manager, Pathogen Reduction Program,
Kemin AgriFoods India, Chennai - 600 029, Tamil Nadu. www.kemin.com

Water is the most essential nutrient for poultry and livestock. Birds consume more water than feed. Water is involved virtually in every physiological process. Water is a medium for transporting nutrients and food along the gastrointestinal tract. Water plays an important role in regulating body temperature and is a component of many basic chemical reactions. Unfortunately, Water is the one ingredient that does not always receive the attention that it deserves.

Least Cost Feed Formulation Software for Poultry, Dairy, EMU and any kind of Livestock

Please Contact :
Y.Srinivas - ☏ +91 9849039200
Email : [email protected] www.ecomixonline.com

In modern day poultry production water should be provided as clean as possible in order to avoid the contamination with microorganisms. Good quality water is very important for good digestion and to create a healthy gut flora, which will help the bird to absorb all the essential nutrients.

Microbial Growth

Factors, which influence the growth of the microorganisms, are the water activity, pH, temperature and the nutrients.

Water activity is the most important factor for the growth of pathogenic microorganism such as E.coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter. The pathogenic microorganisms requires   a water activity of > 0.9 which is found in the drinking water.


The hydrogen ion concentration in water determines the pH level and is very critical for microbial growth. Salmonella, E.coli and Campylobacter can survive in a pH range 4.5 to 8 with an optimum pH for growth around 7. The drinking water pH ranges between, 6.5 to 8 are favourable for the growth and multiplication of the pathogenic microorganisms.

effective Ph
                        The effect of pH on microbial growth


Temperature is the important factor, which can influence the microbial growth of microorganisms. The microorganisms can survive and grow better at an optimum temperature of 370 C.

The Pathogenic microorganisms can rapidly grow and multiply in the presence of combination of favourable factors like, water activity, pH, temperature and the nutrients from the feed and manure.

 Water Quality

Water quality is determined by analyses of water samples. A bacterial analysis indicates if water contains microorganisms, such as bacteria, which may be harmful. A chemical analysis determines the levels of various minerals present in water. The standard acceptable level of total bacterial count should be less than 100cfu/ml and the Coliform count should be less than 50 cfu/ml.

Control of Microbial Quality using Combination of Organic acids


Normally sanitizers based on chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, per acetic acid are used to sanitize the drinking water. The use of this sanitizer effect will be significantly reduced in the presence of organic matter.

Organic acid mixture is able to kill Salmonella and E.coli within 45 minutes in water at the inclusion level of 0.05 % to 1 %. The low pH and the buffered organic acid salts are responsible for this effect. Combination of organic acid proved to be more effective than using single organic acid. Organic acid mixture exerts antimicrobials effect both in water and gastrointestinal tract. Organic acids in water help the bird to populate with Commensal in the gut. Thus organic acids in water improve the total gut health, which helps in absorption of nutrients and overall performance of the birds.


Effect of Combination of Organic acid at the inclusion level of 0.05 % on Salmonella




Effect of Combination of Organic acid at the inclusion level of 0.05 % on E.coli

How do organic acids work?

The antimicrobials activity of organic acids is related to reduction in pH and its ability to dissociate, which is determined by the pKa value of the respective acid and the pH of the surrounding environment. The organic acids are lipid soluble in undissociated form. The more the undissociated form of organic acids the better the efficacy. Hence the selection of organic acid is very critical in determining the efficacy of the product. The undissociated form of the organic acid penetrates the cell membrane of bacteria
. Inside the cell the acid dissociates according to internal pH: acid<-> anion +H+ (proton)
. The H+ (proton) decreases pH in the cell. The bacteria use its energy resources trying to remove the protons and dies.
Anions of organic acids deactivate RNA transferaze enzyme, which damage nucleic acid multiplication process and eventually result in death of the organism.

 Precautions during Cleaning and Acidification of water systems

While cleaning poultry house the first thing is to clean the inside of the water lines, removing the bio-film and the scale. Ordinary sanitizers will not remove the bio-film, neither the scale. A stabilized combination of sanitizer and organic acids will dissolve the debris in a couple of hours. It is very important to flush the lines abundantly to eliminate all residues. This is an absolute preliminary condition to further optimize the water quality, with the goal to improve your production result. Otherwise these biofilms and scale will block the watering system.

Water Acidification:  Benefits in poultry

The proper cleaning and acidification of the drinking system at the start and the correct use of a good water sanitizer-acidifier can eliminate most of the wet-dropping problems. It helps the bird to populate with Commensal in the gut, which in turn improves the total gut health and improves the absorption of nutrients. It reduces mortality levels and the use of medication as well. It produces healthier birds, a better metabolism in the bird, better quality carcasses, stronger eggshells, better feed conversions and last but not least better results in general and more profits.