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SBS Pet™

Sodium Bisulfate - PET® is a natural acidifier for the petfood industry. Uses include feline urine acidification and pH reduction/preservation of soft treats and liquid digestibles. Research also indicates that it can control salmonella contamination. Benefits include low cost, effective pH reduction, no impact on calcium/phosphorus ratio, and improved employee safety.

Sodium Bisulfate – Pet® is a dry granular product with an acid strength slightly stronger than phosphoric acid. It is listed as a General Purpose Feed Additive in the AAFCO official publication under 87.5 (additional special purpose products).

Companion Animal Acidulant

Sodium Bisulfate Pet: The Leader in Dry Acidification

Jones-Hamilton Co. leads the way in dry acidification research and development for the pet food industry. We strive to develop partnerships with our customers to encourage continuous research, cost reduction and manufacturing flexibility.

Chemical Classification

Sodium Bisulfate Pet™ is a dry granular acid that easily dissolves in water. Its chemical formula is NaHSO4. In a water solution, it dissociates into sodium ions, hydrogen ions and sulfate ions.

In 1997 sodium bisulfate was approved for use in animal feed. It is classified as a general purpose feed additive under the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) Feed Ingredient Definition. In 1998 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorized sodium bisulfate as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) for use in human foods.

Acid Strength Comparison

Acid strength is denoted by pKa value. The lower the pKa value the stronger the acid. The pKa value indicates the ease at which the hydrogen ion dissociates. Since pH is a measurement of hydrogen ion concentration, acids with a low pKa value will do a better job of lowering pH.

For pH applications below 3.6, less Sodium Bisulfate Pet™ is required to lower pH than most commonly used acids, including phosphoric acid. This provides for cost savings in a food, digest, treat, slurry or any low pH application.


Research shows that cats tend to prefer food with an acid pH over neutral or alkaline foods.8 This would account for the use of acids in animal digestibles and palatability enhancers. To determine the effects of sodium bisulfate on palatability in cat food, a major U.S. pet food manufacturer performed a standard two-bowl palatability test utilizing twenty cats for two days at an independent animal testingfacility.14 A typical chicken-and-rice-based extruded cat food containing either 0.9% sodium bisulfate or 0.8% phosphoric acid was tested.

First choice preference and total consumption were monitored. Data demonstrated a numerical trend toward the diet containing sodium bisulfate in both observations. The sodium bisulfate diet was chosen 2.25:1 over the phosphoric acid diet and had a 1.42:1 consumption ratio.

Palatability tests on animals generate information on preference and amount consumed, however, they do not tell specifics about the taste.

Nutritional Issues
Calcium / Phosphorus Ratio

Sodium bisulfate acidifies the diet and improves palatability without affecting the calcium/phosphorus ratio. The ideal ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the diet is 1:1. If the ratio is too high it can impair phosphorus absorption.7 If it is too low it can lead to many nutritional problems from calcium deficiency–including bone loss.


Sodium is an essential part of a cat’s diet. Recent studies indicate that cats have a higher sodium requirement for maintenance than the value of 0.5 g/kg diet proposed by the National Research Council (1986). A minimal sodium requirement of 0.8 g/kg diet has been proposed for maintenance of adult cats.15 Sodium deficient cats can exhibit anorexia, weight loss, hyponatriuria and a negative sodium balance. The addition of sodium bisulfate to the diet may contribute to meeting the higher sodium requirement.


  • Inorganic sulfate is an essential electrolyte required by all organisms for life.9
  • It is involved in detoxification via sulfation.10,11
  • It is required for cell matrix synthesis and maintenance of cell membranes.3,4
  • It is involved in the formation of sulfated glycosaminoglycans, major components of cartilage.3,4
  • It is involved in the formation of cerebroside sulfate, a constituent in the myelin membranes of the brain.3,4
  • Sulfate conjugation serves a role in the biosynthetic pathway for the production of steroids, neurotransmitters and bile agents.12


Sodium Bisulfate Pet™ assists with stabilizing your pet food formulation because of its ability to quickly lower pH with relatively low addition rates. Sodium bisulfate is currently used in pet food, soft treats and digestibles for pH reduction and stability.


  • Price Competitive
  • Effective Urine Acidification
  • Improved Palatability
  • pH Reduction/Stability
  • Nutritional Justification
  • No Effect on Ca/P Ratio
  • Can Use Existing Ingredient Equipment
  • Safe Material Handling
  • Low Addition Rate

3. Demeio R.  Sulfate Activation and Transfer. In: Metabolic Pathways, edited by Greenberg D. New York:  Academic, 1975, p. 287-357.
4. Dietrich C, Samapio L, Toledo O, and Cassaro C. Cell Recognition and Adhesiveness: A Possible Biological Role for the Sulfated Mucopolysaccharides. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 75: 329-336, 1977.
7. Kienzle, E., et al, 1998. Investigation on Phosphorus Requirements of Adult Cats. JNutr 128: 2598S-2600S.
9. Markovich D. Physiology-Research; Sulfates-Physiological Aspects; Biological Transport, Active-Regulation Human Anatomy & Physiology; Chemicals & Allied Products Industry; Biology. In: Physiological Reviews, p. 1, 2001.
10. Mulder GJ. Sulfate availability in vivo. In: Sulfation of Drugs and Related Com-pounds, edited by Mulder GJ. Boca Raton, FL: CRC, 1981, p. 32-52.
11. MULDER GJ. Sulfation in vivo and inisolated cell preparations. In: Sulfation of Drugs and Related Compounds, edited by Mulder GJ. Boca Raton, FL: CRC, 1981, p. 131-186.
12. Mulder GJ and Jakoby WB. Sulfation. In: Conjugation Reactions in Drug Metabolism: An Integrated Approach: Substrates, Co-substrates, Enzymes and Their Interactions In Viva and In Vitro, edited by Mulder GJ. London: Taylor and Francis, 1990, p. 107-161.
14. Summit Ridge Farms, 1998. Effects of Sodium Bisulfate on Palatability, Susquehanna, PA, USA.
15. Yu, S. and Morris, J., 1999. Sodium Requirement of Adult Cats for Maintenance Based on Plasma Aldosterone Concentration. J N


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