Formic Acid

Formic Acid

Methanic acid, popularly known as formic acid, was obtained for the first time in 1500, through a steam-drag distillation of solutions containing ants, a process that gave rise to the name formic, from the Latin formic.

It is a simple carboxylic acid that contains a single carbon and occurs naturally in several sources, including the venom of bee and ant stings, pine trees, and some fruits.

 This organic acid is an important single carbon source, widely used in the industrial manufacture of pesticides, leather, dyes, veterinary drugs, and rubber. In addition, it is an organic synthetic reagent used in various segments, such as in the textile industry, medicine, and especially in the field of animal nutrition, where it is used as a preservative and antibacterial agent in the preservation of grains and feed, sanitization of meat and as an additive growth promoter in the feed.

More specifically, here are some examples of its application:

  • General adhesives and bonding agents;
  • Paints, varnishes, plastics, etc;
  • Used in agricultural products (pesticides or not);
  • Animal feed, pet products;
  • Soft drinks, perfumes, beers, mineral flotation.

And another range of products that were not listed.

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In animal nutrition, it acts mainly in the control of yeasts and bacteria such as Bacillus spec., E. coli, and Salmonella, being little effective against fungi and Lactobacillus.

Despite its numerous applications, it is considered a hazardous substance that, if not handled properly, may be capable of inducing severe metabolic acidosis and eye damage in humans and animals, so it is recommended that its use and storage be carried out under the specifications of your safety data sheet.

Technical Results 

Viola et al. (2008), concluded that supplementation with mixtures of organic acids containing lactic, formic, and acetic acids in the feed and the supply of these acids with phosphoric acid in water improves the weight gain of broilers compared to the use of diets free from growth-promoting antibiotics.

Rui (2014) tested the effect of formic acid administered via drinking water and feed in the control of Salmonella Enteritidis – SE. The treatment performed with the administration via drinking water showed the best results, being able to reduce the systemic dissemination of the bacteria, especially in reducing the colonization of the broodstock in the pre-slaughter period, increasing the protection of the birds.


Rui, B. R. Uso do ácido fórmico no controle de Salmonella Enteritidis em frangos de corte experimentalmente infectados. Master’s Dissertation, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, University of São Paulo, São Paulo (2014). doi:10.11606/D.10.2014.tde-09102014-120048. Retrieved 2021-09-27, from

VIOLA, E.S. et al. Desempenho de frangos de corte sob suplementação com ácidos lático, fórmico, acético e fosfórico no alimento ou na água. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia [online]. 2008, v. 37, n. 2 [Acessado 27 Setembro 2021] , pp. 296-302. Disponível em: <>. Epub 30 Jan 2008. ISSN 1806-9290.


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