Efficacy of urease inhibitor to reduce ammonia emission from poultry houses

A. Singh, K. D. Casey, W. D. King, A. J. Pescatore, R. S. Gates, M. J. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


As the poultry industry has grown, so have concerns about the environmental management aspects of these industries, including air and water quality. Poultry operations continue to expand and are large contributors to farm income. There is increased concern related to ammonia emission from poultry operations. Various abatement methods, including dietary manipulation, chemical amendment of litter, and improvement in ventilation system management have been used to control ammonia concentrations from livestock facilities, but these methods are perceived to be too expensive, to impair bird growth, or to add to pollution in some other form. Alternative strategies include reduction of ammonia emissions by arresting N in the litter. An alternative approach to decrease ammonia emissions in poultry facilities is to block the enzyme activity in the litter because ammonia is the by-product of a 5-step enzymatic degradation of uric acid. Our preliminary study with layer feces, which were allowed to accumulate on a layer of broiler litter, indicated that a commercially available urease inhibitor resulted in a significant reduction in equilibrium ammonia concentration over time. Based on the results of the preliminary experiment, further studies were conducted to study the effect of the urease inhibitor on broiler litter and layer feces directly. The results showed that the urease inhibitor did not have any effect on equilibrium ammonia concentration when applied to drier broiler litter. The reduced moisture content in the broiler litter may have inhibited urease inhibitor activity. With layer feces, urease inhibitor reduced equilibrium ammonia concentration. The effect of the first application lasted for 1 wk, after which the equilibrium ammonia concentration in the treated trays rebounded to exceed that of the control trays. Upon a second application of urease inhibitor, the effect lasted for 14 d. The difference in the effect of the urease inhibitor on equilibrium ammonia concentration upon first and second application could have been influenced by a change in manure characteristics over time. Layer manure is a dynamic environment with continued change; therefore, more research is warranted in the area of stored layer manure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Poultry Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by a grant from the North Carolina Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center (North Carolina State University, Raleigh). We would like to thank Allen Sutton of Agrotain for providing the urease inhibitor; Wayne Ingram and Joe Redwine from the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering for sample analyses; and Jason Pieratt, graduate statistical consultant, who helped with the statistical analysis.


  • Air quality
  • Ammonia
  • Broiler litter
  • Layer manure
  • Urease inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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