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Organic Acids

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Organic Acids

Any organic compound that functions with acidic properties is known as an organic acid. The most common of these acids are carboxylic acids. These acids are actively associated with their carboxyl group. The acids most frequently found in the body are carboxylic acids. Sulfonic acids are stronger than carboxylic acids. There are other groups that can be classified as acids, although weakly. The nol group and phenol group are two examples. They are found in organic compounds and biological systems, but weakly and therefore are seldom referred to as organic acids. A selection of these acids are:

1. Lactic acid

2. Acetic acid

3. Formic acid

4. Citric acid

5. Oxalic acid

6. Uric acid


Generally, these acids are weak and do not completely breakdown in water. They are however, soluble in most organic solvents.

They are essential acids with many natural uses within the body. They aid in the destruction of bacteria and micro-bacteria to help the food supply remain safe for human consumption. They have been proven to be considerably more effective in bacterial control than previous additions of antibiotics in the production of animal feeds. They are natural and versatile, as explained below.

Uses of Organic Acids

Formic and acetic acids are utilized in the stimulation of oil and gas wells. They are less reactive to metals and are used when long periods of time between the pipe and acid are needed.

Citric acid and oxalic acid are used as rust removers. They can dissolve iron oxides with out incurring any damage to the base metal.

The biological systems will create more complex organic acids. Lactic, citric and glucuronic acid are examples of these. Urine and blood in humans contain these acids plus Amino Acids and neurotransmitters which produce them as they degredate.

Organic Acids In Food

Food preservation is a prime area of usage for organic acids. This is due to their action on various bacteria. The non-ionized organic acids easily penetrate the cell wall of the bacteria and consequently disrupt the normal physiology or pH sensitive bacteria. Listeria, E coli and Salmonella are typical bacteria that these specific organic acids act on. By lowering the internal pH of the bacteria, growth is inhibited or stopped. Meat and poultry, especially pork products, utilize lactic acid and potassium lactate are the preferable additives.

Nutrition and animal feed uses

Organic acids are used in pig production and have been for over 25 years. They are also used in the production of poultry. These acids are found in nature as parts of animals and plants. Fermentation of carbohydrates in the large intestines is also responsible for their production. They may also be found in potassium, calcium salts and in double salts.

When organic acids are added to animal feeds it is necessary to protect them in order to avoid dissociation in the intestine and therefore allow them to reach in the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal tract is the primary area of bacteria location. The occurrence of many bacterial illnesses has been decreased due to the use of organic acids in animal feeds.

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