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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVE NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT AND EFFICIENCY IN CATTLE Title: Potential odorous volatile organic compound emissions from feces and urine from cattle fed corn-based diets with wet distillers grains and solubles

Authors
item Hales, Kristin
item Parker, David
item Cole, Noel

Submitted to: Atmospheric Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 25, 2012
Publication Date: July 21, 2012
Citation: Hales, K.E., Parker, D.B., Cole, N.A. 2012. Potential odorous volatile organic compound emissions from feces and urine from cattle fed corn-based diets with wet distillers grains and solubles. Atmospheric Environment. 60:292-297.

Interpretive Summary: Odor and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions have been an issue at animal feeding operations, and has become more prevalent as houses encroach upon areas once occupied only by agriculture. These odors are generally caused by odorous VOCs emitted from manure, the mixture of feces and urine. Wet distillers grains with solubles (WDGS) are a by-product of the ethanol industry in the U.S., and WDGS have become a staple in many beef cattle finishing diets. The objective of this research was to determine flux of VOC from feces and urine of cattle fed steam-flaked corn-based diets with 0, 15, 30, or 45% WDGS. No differences in flux of VOC were detected across dietary treatments for aromatic compounds. Sulfur compound flux in the feces was not different across treatment and the flux of volatile fatty acids was not different across treatment. There was a tendency for dimethyl disulfide flux from urine to be greater for cattle consuming a steam-flaked corn-based diet with 15% WDGS than the other diets. There were no differences in odor activity value (OAV) across treatments for feces, and only a tendency for dimethyl disulfide in the feces. Thus, there was no indication that feeding of WDGS affects flux of odorous VOC from beef cattle manure. The summed OAV was three times higher in the urine than feces, and a single compound (4 methylphenol) accounted for 97.6% and 67.3% of the OAV in urine and feces, respectively. Therefore, engineering or dietary strategies to reduce odor from beef manure should focus on controlling or reducing 4 methylphenol.

Technical Abstract: Odor and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions are a concern at animal feeding operations (AFOs). The issue has become more prevalent as human residences move into areas once occupied only by agriculture. Odors near AFOs are generally caused by odorous VOCs emitted from manure, the mixture of feces and urine. Wet distillers grains with solubles (WDGS) are a by-product of the ethanol industry, and WDGS have become a staple in many beef cattle finishing diets. The objective of this research was to determine specific VOC emissions from frozen feces and urine of cattle fed steam-flaked corn (SFC)-based diets containing 0, 15, 30, or 45% WDGS. No differences in flux were detected across dietary treatments for phenol, indole, skatole, or 4-methylphenol (P > 0.23). Dimethyl disulfide and dimethyl trisulfide flux in feces were not different across treatments (P > 0.35) and the flux of volatile fatty acids (VFA) such as acetic, propionic, isobutyric, butyric, isovaleric, and valeric were not different across treatments (P > 0.25). There was a tendency for dimethyl disulfide flux from urine to be greater for cattle consuming a SFC-based diet with 15% WDGS than the other diets (P = 0.10). Furthermore, flux of acetic, propionic, isobutyric, butyric, and isovaleric acid from the urine was not different (P > 0.61) across dietary treatment. There were no significant differences in odor activity value (OAV) across treatments for feces, and only a tendency for dimethyl disulfide in the feces (P = 0.09). Thus, there was no obvious indication that feeding WDGS affects flux of odor or odorous VOC from beef manure. The summed OAV was three times higher in the urine than feces, and a single odorous compound (4 methylphenol) accounted for 97.6% and 67.3% of the OAV in urine and feces, respectively. Therefore, engineering or dietary strategies to reduce odor from beef manure should focus on controlling or reducing 4 methylphenol concentrations in the urine and feces.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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