Articles | Volume 58, issue 2
Arch. Anim. Breed., 58, 309–315, 2015
Arch. Anim. Breed., 58, 309–315, 2015

Original study 31 Jul 2015

Original study | 31 Jul 2015

Acidic stress caused by dietary administration of citric acid in broiler chickens

R. Nourmohammadi and H. Khosravinia R. Nourmohammadi and H. Khosravinia
  • Department of Animal Sciences, Lorestan University, Khorramabad, Lorestan, Iran

Abstract. Citric acid (CA) is commonly used in poultry diets to promote growth by acidifying the gastrointestinal contents, improving nutrient digestibility, and reducing pathogen loads; therefore, this study was conducted to demonstrate the effects of 0, 30 and 60 g of CA per kilogramme of diet on productive performance, selected blood metabolites, immune response and certain gut-related variables in broiler chickens using 150, 7-day-old Ross 308 male broiler chicks in five replicates of 10 birds each per diet. Growth performance, daily feed intake and tibia phosphorous (P) retention were significantly improved by the diets containing 30 g kg−1 of CA (P < 0.01) but were suppressed as CA increased to 60 g kg−1. Dietary CA increased proventriculus, gizzard and ileum percentage and villus length, crypt depth and goblet cell number in duodenum, jejunum and ileum as well as ileal digestibility of crude protein, apparent metabolisable energy and total phosphorus while it decreased the pH of contents in the gut segments concerned (P < 0.01). Diets containing 60 g kg−1 of CA significantly reduced plasma P and Fe levels as well as cholesterol level and Alkaline phosphatase activity (P < 0.05) while increasing the aspartate aminotransferase and lactate dehydrogenase activities (P < 0.01) in the blood serum of the birds at day 42 of age. The percentage of bursa and thymus was greater in the birds fed on diets containing 60 and 30 g kg−1 of CA, respectively (P < 0.01). It was concluded that inclusion of 60 g kg−1 of CA in the diet resulted in a severe reduction in performance, nutrient digestion and absorption and liver dysfunctions in broiler chickens, a phenomenon we call as acidic stress.