5 facts about glycerides of lauric acid

Glycerides of lauric acid possess unique properties, enabling them to stimulate animal health via multiple actions.

In the fight against increasing antibiotic resistance, many countries have banned the systematic use of antibiotics in animal feed. Producers are looking for alternatives to maintain animal health and performance. Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are a good alternative, but glycerides of these MCFAs are even more interesting because of their unique properties. This applies in particular to glycerides of lauric acid (FRA C12).

1. Stronger than free MCFAs

Glycerides of lauric acid are produced by an esterification reaction between lauric acid and glycerol creating a covalent bond between these two molecules. They show to possess strong antibacterial properties, especially against Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria. Lauric acid glycerides interfere with the cell membrane and disturbs vital cell processes of the bacteria.

2. Active in the entire intestinal tract

The specific molecular structure enables glycerides of lauric acid to remain in its active form during passage of the animal’s intestinal tract. This is explained by the high pKa value (13.62), which is the pH at which a molecule is dissociated for 50%. Knowing that the pH in the gastro-intestinal tract of the animal never reach such a high pH, lauric acid glycerides can be considered pH-independent and will not dissociate in the gastro-intestinal tract. In addition, glycerides of lauric acid are not susceptible to enzymatic breakdown.

3. Strong against viruses

Glycerides of lauric acid are gaining more interest in the fight against viral diseases. Their molecular structure makes them able to attack fat-enveloped viruses by destroying their fat-envelope. Several in vitro trials reveal that the anti-viral effect of lauric acid glycerides are outperforming glycerides of other MCFAs. Globally, glycerides of lauric acid are applied to suppress the negative impact of Infectious Bronchitis (IB), Newcastle Disease (ND), Avian Influenza (AI), Marek’s disease (MD) and others.

4. Boosting effect on immune response

For optimal animal health and performance, a properly working immune system is crucial. This means it responds correctly to diseases, but does not overreact when small challenges occur. Such overreaction can be very costly for the animal, restricting the possibility to reach its genetic growth potential. In vivo trials revealed that glycerides of lauric acid can improve the immune response of infectious bronchitis vaccinated broilers. In vitro results confirm the potential anti-inflammatory properties of lauric acid glycerides (Figure 1).

5. Antibiotic reduction

As a result of the multiple actions of lauric acid glycerides, FRA C12 is a successful tool in antibiotic free diets. One will notice a reduction in curative antibiotic usage as well as improved animal health and performance with the use of glycerides of lauric acid. References are available upon request.