Buffer effect

A natural and effective buffering capacity

  ration in breeder's hands Click to enlarge

Food metabolism in livestock is optimal within specific pH ranges. In cows, the optimal pH of the rumen lies between 6.0 and 6.4. In pigs, blood pH should be around 7.4, and in poultry, it should be between 7.0 and 7.8.
Under normal conditions, the body is able to regulate pH with natural buffering systems, for example by using bicarbonate. However, in order to increase the zootechnical performance of their animals, breeders stimulate the production capacity of their livestock with energy-rich and rapidly fermentable rations.
But these rations are often acidifying, meaning that their metabolism leads to the production of a significant quantity of acid compounds (VFAs, or volatile fatty acids). These can cause metabolic acidosis, which results in a drop in performance and a number of health risks (musculoskeletal disorders, impaired fertility). 

Ensuring safe rations to prevent acidosis

To prevent acidosis, a buffer must be added to the ration. This allows optimal pH to be maintained by neutralizing the acid compounds. Bicar®Z, a natural source of bicarbonate, has a high buffering capacity. As shown by a recent study conducted in Germany (Dr. Mahlkow-Nerge, 2013), adding Bicar®Z to very energy-rich rations for ruminants (up to 11.6 kg per day of energy concentrates) is sufficient to stabilize ruminal pH at ideal levels.

A buffering factor in methanation

Methanation of livestock effluent, which works on the same metabolic principle as the rumen of cows (anaerobic digestion), is optimal at a pH of between 6.5 and 7.5. By raising the pH in the digester and by improving the buffering capacity of the substrate, Bicar®Z allows optimal conditions to be created for the bacterial flora, thus increasing the yield of the methanizer.

Find out more about methanation