Benzoic Acid Shows Consistency, Improved Performance in Swine

Newly published white paper analyzes the use of organic acids for feed acidification

DSM Animal Nutrition and Health — a global science-based company focused on nutrition, health and sustainable living — today released a white paper focused on the use of feed acidifiers in commercial swine operations. The white paper, Diet acidification and the merits of benzoic acid for swine nutrition and sustainable pork production, is authored by Jon Bergstrom, Ph.D., DSM senior technical support manager, and highlights trials and research surrounding the use of organic acids.

In the white paper, Bergstrom says, “Organic acids and diet acidification are among the most viable avenues that are being considered to help maintain or improve the nutrition for pigs, both now and into the future.”

As organic acids have gained acceptance in recent years — whether because of antimicrobial resistance concerns, changing regulations or increasing consumer demand — experts are able to better evaluate the long-term use in feeding programs. Various acids have been used to acidify diets but understanding the differences among the acids and their more specific benefits has been difficult. However, one acid has shown more reliable and favorable results.

“Unlike other acids, benzoic acid has shown more consistency in pig performance. Benzoic acid helps maintain performance with reduced dietary pH,” said Bergstrom. “The versatility of benzoic acid in swine feeds has been demonstrated, and it’s been effective in diets containing phytogenic compounds or flavorings, enzymes, and even other acids.”

Benzoic acid research
Recent trials in North America have shown consistent improvements in post-weaning pig performance when 0.5% benzoic acid was used for feed acidification. A 2019 research report showed average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) were increased for pigs fed diets with benzoic acid from day 0 to 21 post-weaning, even when diets contained high levels of zinc oxide. Feed conversion was also improved with 0.5% benzoic acid in diets with low zinc oxide.

In a 2020 post-weaning study, researchers found that diets with 0.5% benzoic acid improved ADG and ending BW during days 0 to 13 and 13 to 20 post-weaning. Feed efficiency was also improved from day 0 to 13, and there was a tendency for pigs fed diets containing any of the acids to have greater ADFI from day 13 to 20.

In addition to the nursery period, benzoic acid also showed benefits during the growing and finishing phases in some trials.

Click here to view the full white paper and references.