Butyric acid is one of the three main short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that your gut produces when good bacteria break down dietary fiber. Along with acetic acid and propionic acid, it makes up more than 90 percent of the SCFAs in your gut. It provides your colon cells with about 70 percent of their energy needs and also supports your immune system, reduces inflammation and may help prevent disease.
How to Make Butyric Acid at Home
You can make butyric acid at home by using a process called anaerobic fermentation, which occurs when food is fermented in the absence of oxygen. This fermentation happens in your stomach and in your intestines. It also happens in butter, cheese, yoghurts and some other foods.
How to Prepare Butyric Acid
You’ll need some yeast or bacteria and a liquid medium to start butyric acid fermentation at home. You can use commercially available liquid mediums or you can use an all-natural culture that’s made from yeast and a water-based liquid like whey or milk.
The yeast or bacteria must first be activated by a mild acid, such as lactic acid, to start the fermentation. The pH of the solution should be about 5.0 to 6.0. Then, the solution must be allowed to ferment at a rate of 1 L per hour for 5-6 days.
Once the fermentation is complete, the liquid media must be separated from the resulting butyric acid. This can be done with a filter or vacuum pump.
Butyric acid is a four-carbon, straight short chain fatty acid that’s found in animal fats and plant oils. It has a sweet, almost honey-like taste and an unpleasant, rancid smell. It’s also a key component of some emulsions, including butter, parmesan cheese and yoghurt.
Why Butyric Acid Is So Stinky
It’s no surprise that butyric acid is so stinky — it’s what makes butter and other dairy products go off. It was first discovered in 1814 by French chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul, who realised that the foul odour of runny butter was caused by butyric acid.
A few other things butyric acid is known for are its ability to boost sleep, improve gut health and help prevent colon cancer. However, most research on the effects of butyric acid has been done on animals or isolated cells, so more human studies are needed to understand how it might work for you.
How to Make Butyric acid at Home
There are several different ways to produce butyric acid at home, but the most common way is by using a chemical synthesis. This synthesis involves the oxidation of propylene-derived butyraldehyde or by syngas fermentation.
Another common way to make butyric acid is by using an extract from butter. This is a popular way to make butyric acid at home, as it’s cheaper and easier to find than butyraldehyde, which is a byproduct of the chemical synthesis.
Alternatively, you can produce butyric acid by fermenting corn husk. This is a more cost-effective and sustainable option than the chemical synthesis, but it can take more time. Generally, the process for making butyric acid from corn husk involves pretreatments with dilute sulfuric acid to hydrolyse polysaccharides to fermentable sugars and then detoxification with activated carbon adsorption to remove hydrolysate inhibitors. This is followed by fermentation in bioreactors to convert the sugars to butyric acid.