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C4A is an acronym of Care4Animals, and is a play on the 4 fatty acids that are used in this unique product.

The problem


The biggest problem in intensive animal production are the pathogens in the gut severely curtailing the growth of young stock. This has previously been managed with antibiotics, but consumer pressure and now legislation is severely limiting this option. The problem is how to replace antibiotics with natural treatments that are effective and residue-free. C4A has emerged at the forefront of several novel products designed to answer this challenge.


A secondary problem is that whilst the most effective of the short chain fatty acids for combatting pathogens is butyric acid, its very bad smell in the unprotected form precludes its practical use. Protecting the molecule with a coating can limit the odour to reasonably acceptable levels, but only esterification can take away the odour completely, whilst retaining full efficacy of butyric acid.

The solution


It is widely acknowledged that short and medium chain fatty acids are the most effective way of controlling bad bacteria in the gut, but the problem is those fatty acids transitioning the stomach without absorption and loss of effect. It is the protection of the fatty acids by complete esterification that can deliver faster weight gain than classical antibiotics.

This is why C4A was developed as a fully esterified molecule combining four short and medium chain fatty acids. As it is a natural product, C4A is classified as a feed material and not a feed additive, and as such, no claims are made or implied. It has long been accepted that short and medium chain fatty acids have strong antibacterial and antiviral effects, and thus all references to mode of action of C4A are those relating to the action of fatty acids in the intestine.















BDC agri’s Greg Dunn delivering C4A Zero Zinc to Flavian Obiero,
Pig Unit Manager, Plumpton College, East Sussex

'Since I started using C4A Zero Zinc in September 2020,
I have completely ceased using zinc oxide and
anti-scour treatment'

Flavian Obiero, formerly Pig Unit Manager, Plumpton College


Why is C4A unique?


There are several products on the market that include short and medium chain fatty acids, but they are mixtures rather than being esterified for protection through the animal's stomach. These fatty acid mixtures work to some degree without esterification, but lipase activity can cut triglycerides and fatty acids can be lost in the stomach. The patented esterification of the C4A production process reduces the free fatty acid content to less than 1%, and is therefore fully protected for safe passage through the stomach and into the intestine, where the fatty acids are absorbed by enzymatic action.


Which fatty acids are in C4A?

Butyric acid (C4:0) is accepted as the most effective fatty acid at combatting gram negative pathogens, principally salmonella and  E. coli, combined with caprylic (C8:0), capric (C10:0) and lauric (C12:0) acids for controlling gram positive bacteria like Clostridium and Streptococcus.


What form is C4A available in?


1. C4A-D is a powder with 70% concentration of active ingredients, on a silica base. It is available in 25kg bags.

2. C4A-L is a white emulsion. which is fully dissolvable in water and is 60% concentration. It is available in 10 litre and 20 litre plastic drums.

How do the short and medium chain fatty acids in C4A perform against classical antibiotics?


In vitro tests show the effectiveness of the molecule against different germs. Fatty acids in the gut are liberated by enzymatic digestion. The different fatty acids, which vary in length and molecular weight, are protected by esterification from absorption in the stomach and arrive in the colon as active ingredients to capture pathogens.  The fatty acids in C4A have a large influence on gut microbiota and mucosa immunity by increasing the probiotic activity and reducing inflammation.


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C4A is unique as it is fully esterified, which protects fatty acids through the stomach, is without the smell usually associated with butyrate, and the action of the four fatty acids in C4A can produce greater weight gains at lower cost than medical intervention.

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Livestock breeding_ Group of pigs in far
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