Acidification of formula with citric acid is equally effective and better tolerated than acidification with hydrochloric acid

John R. Mehall, Daniel A. Saltzman, Richard J. Jackson, Samuel D. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To determine whether acidification of formula with citric acid is equally protective against bacterial translocation and gut colonization but better tolerated than acidification with hydrochloric acid in neonatal rabbits. Design: Paired animal model with control. Setting: Animal laboratory. Subjects: Premature neonatal New Zealand rabbit pups. Interventions: A standard neonatal rabbit model in two versions, a bacterial challenge and a no bacterial challenge model, was used to assess bacterial translocation and gut colonization. Two hundred forty-six rabbit pups were delivered by cesarean section 1 day premature and randomly placed into two groups sorted by type of formula acidification (hydrochloric acid or citric acid). Pups were gavage fed pH 3 kitten formula every 12 hrs. Ranitidine hydrochloride at 20 mg·kg-1·day-1 was added to all formula. Bacterial challenge animals were given 1 × 106 colony-forming units/mL of Enterobacter cloacae with the third feeding. Animals in the no bacterial challenge group received no bacterial challenge. Animals were killed on day of life 3, and the liver, spleen, mesenteric lymph nodes, and cecum were sequentially harvested and cultured. Organs were qualitatively judged for growth, whereas cecal cultures were quantified as colony-forming units/gram. Stomach biopsies were performed to look for mucosal damage. Long-term tolerance was assessed in 48 pups fed formula acidified to pH 3 with either hydrochloric acid or citric acid and 20 animals fed pH 7 formula without ranitidine. Weight gain and mortality rate were followed for 14 days. Measurements and Main Results: Gut colonization and bacterial translocation to liver, spleen, and mesenteric lymph nodes were equivalent between citric acid and hydrochloric acid in both bacterial challenge and no bacterial challenge models. Long term, citric acid animals exceeded hydrochloric acid animals in daily weight gain and survival (p < .05 for both) and equaled pH 7 animals in these measurements. Conclusion: Acidification of formula with citric acid is equally protective against bacteria but better tolerated than acidification with hydrochloric acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1701-1704
Number of pages4
JournalCritical care medicine
Volume30
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

Keywords

  • Acidified formula
  • Citric acid
  • Enteral feeding

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