KEM-GEST - Digestive Solutions for Weaned Pigs

Baby pig standing on white background

KEM-GEST is a blend of organic and inorganic acids designed to provide an economical means to acidify swine feed. Swine producers have successfully used it for years as a solution to improve a weaned pig's ability to digest complex soy-based diets. 

Features and Benefits of Acids in Piglet Diets

KEM-GEST contains a blend of acids, including lactic acid, and is a cost-effective means of providing feed acidification to swine diets. In addition to its long history of industry use and positive results, this flowable dry product is easy to handle and simple to add to feed. KEM-GEST supports the nursery pig's gastric acidification system, improving the gut barrier function of the intestinal tract. It also helps reduce urine pH in piglets and improve activity of gastric enzymes post-weaning, improving digestion for pigs.1




A multi-acid approach benefits nursery pigs with needed hydrochloric acid (HCl) production in the stomach and also helps protect the gastrointestinal tract from growth limiting pathogens, which promotes production efficiency. By improving the digestion and reducing harmful pathogens with added acids in the pigs' diets, they have a better chance for healthy growth rates. Additionally, by reducing the urine pH in piglets, it can reduce the amount of ammonia emitted into the air, positively impacting the animals' overall health.

Why Should I Use Diet Acidifiers?

Young pigs have a limited ability to produce HCl in the stomach. HCl production is small at birth but increases with advancing age. The greater the production of acid in the stomach, the lower the gastric pH. Adding a blend of acids can improve digestion for pigs and reduce harmful pathogen loads. The pH in the stomach can regulate the movement of viable bacteria to the small intestine.

The Role of Acid Dissociation

Every acid dissociates (loses its H+ ions) at its own rate. Inorganic acids dissociate quickly, causing a rapid drop in pH of a solution. Organic acids are slower to dissociate. KEM-GEST provides the added benefits of both acids to piglet diets.

How Organic Acids Kill Bacteria2

  1. A blended solution of organic acids is placed into an environment where bacteria is present
  2. Intact acid molecules enter the bacteria cell through the cell wall
  3. Intact acid molecules give up their H+ ions inside the bacteria cell to lower the pH
  4. pH of cytoplasm drops rapidly creating intracellular heartburn


Figure 1. Bacterial cell


  • Irregular cell function due to reduced intracellular pH
  • The cell's energy is used up when attempting to pump H+ ions out of the cell
  • Integrity of cell wall may weaken and rupture
  • Bacteria diets

An acid with more intact acid molecules (more H+ ions available) at a given pH will have a greater ability to kill bacteria.2

KEM-GEST Impacts Nursery Pigs in Two Ways



Impact 1

  • Phosphoric acid is delivered to the stomach of the pig
  • HCl production is stimulated, which is lacking at weaning. This improves digestion in piglets

Impact 2

  • Organic acids (fumaric, citric and lactic) are delivered to the hind gut for additional benefits in piglet diets



1Dibner, J. J. Feedstuffs. October 27, 2003, Vol. 75, Issue 44, P. 12.

2Hirshfield, Irvin N., Stephanie Terzulli, and Connor O'Bryne. Weak organic acids: A panoply of effects on bacteria. Science Progress. November 2003. Vol. 86, Issue 4, P. 245-269.