Submitted to: Natural Resources Research Update (NRRU)
Publication Type: Research Technical Update
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2012
Publication Date: 2/2/2012
Citation: Cook, K.L., Rothrock Jr, M.J., Lovanh, N.C., Sistani, K.R. 2012. A microbial approach to understanding the production of ammonia in poultry litter. Natural Resources Research Update (NRRU). NRRU only.
Technical Abstract: As fertilizer costs increase, poultry litter has become an increasingly valuable commodity. Reducing ammonia (NH3) volatilization from poultry litter is therefore important not only to reduce ventilation costs and improve bird performance but also to retain the fertilizer value of the litter. The goal of this research was to understand the association between ammonia-producing microorganisms and nitrogen dynamics in poultry litter in order to improve the value of the litter and reduce risks to the flock. Ammonia is produced by mineralization of urea and uric acid. Despite the fact that it is a microbial process, little was previously known about microbial populations responsible for ammonia production in poultry litter or how they respond to litter amendments. While most litter amendments are designed to attenuate or eliminate ammonia already present within the poultry litter, the focus of this work was to identify and control the microbial communities responsible for its production.