What are buffers?
Milk buffer is a compound that neutralizes excess acid in the digestive system of animals. They complement the cow's natural buffer in saliva, increasing its ability to counter the damaging effects of excess acid production.
Buffers and lye are technically different. Buffers maintain acidity or pH within a narrow range when acid or base is added. Examples of commonly used buffers are sodium bicarbonate and sodium Alkalizer increase the pH in direct proportion to the amount added.
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Magnesium oxide and magnesium hydroxide are good examples of alkalizes. Both buffers and alkalizing agents are important for neutralizing excess acid, and in common usage, they are referred to as buffers.
Buffers are compounds that, in an aqueous solution, help to resist changes in gastric pH when ingesting grains, short, chopped, and fermented feeds (silage). The buffering requirements in dairy cattle feed are a function of salivary buffer secretion, feed buffering capacity, feed acid potential, and feed acidity.
Buffers are widely used to reduce the effects of the acidic conditions created by the relatively high grain rations given to dairy cows. Food buffers are very well studied and widely used in the dairy industry.
The term buffer is poorly applied to several compounds including bicarbonates, carbonates, hydroxides, and oxides. Cows have three main ways of buffering digested acid (silage) or the acid produced by fermentation in the stomach. These include • natural buffers in saliva, • the buffering capacity of ingested feed, and; • added dietary buffers.