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Butyric Acid in animal nutrition

Organic acids are substances that have a carboxylic group. In recent years, attention has been given to them as alternative additives to antibiotics, acting as antimicrobials and promoting better zootechnical indexes. Among a diverse list, the most discussed are butyric, propionic, acetic, lactic, formic acid, among others.

In this publication we will talk about the butyric. Butyric acid or butyrate is an organic acid classified as short chain fatty acid – AGCC (or volatile fatty acid – AGV) having only 4 carbon atoms, being a metabolite resulting from anaerobic microbial fermentation.

Despite being a simple molecule, it has several mechanisms of action and great importance for intestinal balance among other functions. Butyrate can be in the form of sodium or calcium butyrate, in addition to being able to be combined with essential oils and even tannins.

Butyric acid is an important source of energy for the intestinal epithelial cells, especially colonocytes, and it also has a positive effect on villous growth, enzymatic activity and on the balance of the intestinal microbiota.

However, butyric acid is almost completely absorbed in the stomach, and it is necessary to be encapsulated to reach the cecum and colon.

Concomitantly, butyric acid helps in the migration of neutrophils, which reinforces positive feedback to the animal’s immune system.