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Georgia University Researcher Develops New Approach to Suppress Ammonia


Mar 15, 2017


Using funding provided by USPOULTRY Dr. Woo Kim of the Department of Poultry Science, University of Georgia has developed a new approach to suppress elaboration of ammonia in litter. 


Project 687 entitled Effects of Nitrocompounds to Minimize Ammonia Emission in Broiler Litter represents a unique in-feed modality to reduce ammonia liberation from uric acid excreted by flocks.

Dr. Kim demonstrated that a number of nitrocompounds in vitro can inactivate the five enzymes required to convert uric acid to ammonia.  Nitropropanol and nitropropionic acid demonstrated the highest levels of reduction.  Supplementation of broiler diets with either nitroethanol or nitropropanol reduced uric acid degradation and ammonia production in broiler litter without affecting performance. The evaluation included measurement of ammonia volatilization, ammonia nitrogen, total nitrogen, and uric acid nitrogen in litter.

The report did not include any details as to the financial feasibility of the approach. Costs should be compared with the expense of currently available litter amendments to reduce ammonia production by acidification.

The most injurious effect of ammonia on the respiratory tract occurs after placement of chicks exposed to ammonia liberated from used litter beneath the thin covering of fresh wood shavings or other substrate. Obviously including an additive in feed during the pre-starter and starter periods would have little effect on the flock. 

Inclusion of the nitrocompounds in finisher and withdrawal feeds could conceivably reduce ammonia emission which would affect subsequent flocks with a beneficial effect on respiratory function and growth during the first two weeks of the following cycle.  Inclusion of the compounds in feed on a seasonal basis could also be an acceptable strategy especially during cold weather when ventilation rates are reduced to conserve heat.


Copyright 2017 Simon M. Shane