“These findings demonstrate the value of real-time pH technology”

Although at eCow we focus on the development of pH sensors for ruminants, research examining the gastrointestinal pH of other livestock species is becoming a hot topic. Recently we have helped to supply and advise the use of real-time pH sensors for use in poultry and swine research.

This research, carried out by Sophie Lee and her team, examined the effect of dietary changes on the gastric pH of broiler chickens and pigs, as well as exploring the impacts of a common supplement, phytase, on pH. To allow pH to be measured immediately and for a period of time, the eCow sourced the team Heidelberg capsules, normally used in human medicine. As real-time pH measurement can be difficult in monogastrics the use of this capsule represents a substantial step forward in this area of research.

Using the pH capsules, researchers were able to see that gastric pH is altered by dietary changes, and that supplementation with phytase can also have an impact on pH in both chickens and pigs. However, another key conclusion of this paper is the importance of having strategies to measure real-time pH in livestock. By being able to immediately measure changes to gastrointestinal pH, it is possible to explore the implications of this change both on the animals digestion, but also on its health and productivity.

You can find out more about the use of eCow boluses to continually measure reticulum pH in dairy cows here. Research by Sophie Lee et al. is awaiting publication but will shortly be available to read in full on our recent publications page here.