Nutritive value of wheat straw treated with gaseous or liquid ammonia trough nylon bag and in vitro gas production techniques

Document Type : Ruminant Nutrition


Ferdowsi University of Mashhad


Introduction Feed shortage is the most important characteristic of Iranian animal industry. Increased costs of livestock production have caused the Iranian producers to reduce feed costs mainly by inclusion low quality crop residues into ruminants diets. It is estimated that around 20 million tons wheat straw produced in Iran every year. Both the digestibility and crude protein content of wheat straw are typically low. Since 1900, a wide variety of chemical treatments have been tested for their potential to improve the feeding value of wheat straw. Upgrading of wheat straw by ammoniation has been known for a long time, but application of this method of wheat straw treatment has received the least attention in the area (Khorasan Province, Iran). Therefore, the object of the present study was to evaluate the effect of gaseous and liquid ammonia on nutritive value of wheat straw through in vitro techniques.
Material and Methods One kg dry wheat straw was placed into the plastic cylinders with dimension of 1 m (diameter) and 1.8 m (height) and 0.8 mm (thickness). Gaseous and liquid commercial ammonia was injected or added to the wrapped straw at the rate of 2, 4 and 6 percent. The treatment time was 1 month at room temperature (20-25 ºC). At the end of treatment period the cylinders were opened and the ammoniated straw exposed to the air for 4 days. The treated straws were sampled for the subsequent analyses. Dry matter degradability of the samples was done by using nylon bags (10x20 cm) with pore size of 40 micron. About 2 g ground samples (2 mm) were placed into the nylon bags and incubated in rumen of 4 permanently fistulated steers for 3, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96 and 120 hrs. The experimental steers were fed by the ordinary diet containing 65% forage and 35% concentrate twice daily. The Menke and Steingass method was followed for the in vitro gas production method.
Result and discussion Crude protein (CP) content of the treated wheat straw samples increased and their neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) contents reduced significantly (P< 0.05) with increasing the level of ammonia in both gaseous or liquid forms, although, the 6% level was more affective. There were no significant differences between the experimental treatments in organic matter, ether extract and ash contents. Crude protein content increased from 3.71% in untreated wheat straw to 13.41% in treated straw with 6% ammonia in liquid form. The chemical composition measurements revealed that ammonia treatment in liquid form was more effective in comparison with the gaseous form. The increase in CP content of the treated wheat straw was in agreement with data reported by other workers. The lower levels of NDF and ADF of the straw due to ammonia treatments appear to be due to solubiliziation of hemicellulose component. The nylon bag measurements showed that soluble fraction (a and b), rate of degradation of fraction b (r), potential degradability (PD) and effective degradability (ED) were all associated with the level of applied ammonia. Dry matter disappearance significantly (P< 0.05) increased with increasing the level of ammonia mainly in gaseous form. For all the in situ parameters the most effective level of ammonia was 6%. Total produced gas after 24 hrs of incubation confirmed that the highest level of ammonia (6%) had the greatest effects on a, c, ME, NEL, OMD and SCFA parameters.
Conclusion The overall results showed that wheat straw treatment with 6% ammonia in either gaseous or liquid forms could improve its feeding value for ruminants significantly (P< 0.05). Straw treatment with ammonia in liquid form was totally more effective than the other form (gaseous). It seems that ammonia fixation in treated wheat straw with liquid ammonia has been related to the moisture content rather than its forms. In farm and commercial scales handling and application of large amount and liquid ammonia and treating straw is inapplicable. It was concluded that straw treatment with gaseous ammonia in presence of moisture at a level of 20-30 percent and environmental temperature of 20-30 ○C result to the best improvement in case of nutritive value. This type of treatment can be easily applied in most areas of Iran during summer because the noted conditions are available.


1- Statistical and Information Center. 2000. Agricultural statistics, First publican, Department of Agriculture of Jihad. (In persion).
2- Danesh. M. 2012. Determination of feeding value of grain and bean sraw and the effect of treated wheat straw with urea or ammonia on feed intake, digestibility and fermentative parameters in Balochi sheep. Msc Thesis. Ferdowsi university of Mashhad. (In persion).
3- Hashemi, M. 1997. Feeds and Feeding and Dieting for ruminants. Farhang Jamea publican. (In persion).
4- Abebe, g., R. C. merkel., G. Animut., T. Sahlu, and A. L. Goetsch. 2004. Effects of ammoniation of wheat straw and supplementation with soybean meal or broiler litter on feed intake and digestion in yearling Spanish goat wethers. Small ruminant research, 51:37-46.
5- AOAC. 2005. Official Methods of Analysis. Vol. I. 15th ed. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Arlington, VA.
6- Babayemi, O. J. 2006. Antinutritional factors, nutritive value and in vitro gas production of Foliage and fruit of Enterolobium cyclocarpum. Japanese Journal of Zootechnical Science, 1 (2): 113-117.
7- Blummel, M and E.R. Orskov, 1994. Comparison of gas production and nylon bagdegradabilityof roughages in predicting feed intake in cattle. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 40: 109-119.
8- Buettner, M. R., V. L. Lechtenberg, K. S. Hendrix and J. M. Hertel. 1982. Composition and digestion of ammoniated tall fescue. Journal of Animal Science, 54:173.
9- Buxton, D. R. 1996. Quality-related characteristics of forages as influenced by plant environment and agronomic factors. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 59:37-49.
10- Chenost, M., and J.P.,Dulphy. 1987. Amelio ration delaval euralim entire (composition, digestibilite, ingestibilitedes mauvaisfoins et des pailles par les different types de traitement), in: Demarquilly C. (Ed.), Lesfourragessecs:recolte, traitement et utilization ,INRA Paris, 199–230.
11- Dewhurst, R. J., D. Hepper, and A. J. F. Webster. 1995. Comparison of in sacco and in vitro techniques for estimating the rate and extent of rumen fermentation of a range of dietary ingredients. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 51: 211-229.
12- De Boever, J.L., J. M. Aerts, J. M. Vanacker and D. L. De Brabander. 2005. Evalution of the nutritive value of maize silage using a gas production technique. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 123:255-265.
13- Dijkstra, J., E. Kebreab, A. Bannink, J. France, and S. Lopez. 2005. Application of the gas production technique to feed evaluation systems for ruminants. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 123–124: 561–578.
14- Getachew, G., G.M. Grovetto, M. Fondivilla, B. Krishnamoorthy, H. Singh, Sphaghero, P.H. Steingass, P.H. Robinson and M.M. Kailas, 2002. Laboratory Variation of 24h in vitro gas production and estimated metabolizable energy values of ruminant feeds. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 102: 169-180.
15- Givens, D. I., E. owen, R. F. E. Auford, and H. M. Omend. 2000. Forage evalution in ruminant nutrition, CABI Publishing.
16- Graham, H., Aman, P. and Maguire, M.F., 1985. Influence of anhydrous ammonia treatment on the composition and degradation of components of barley straw. Iranian Journal of Agriculture Research, 24: 33-37.
17- Grenet, E. and P. Barry. 1990. Microbial degradation in the rumen of wheat straw and anhydrous ammonia treated wheat straw observed by electron microscopy. Reproduction and Nutrition Development, 30:533-540.
18- Guggolz J, R. M. Saunders, G. O. Kohler, T. J. Klopfenstein. 1971. Enzymatic evaluation of processesfor improving agricultural wastes for ruminant feeds. Journal of Animal Science, 33(1):167–170.
19- Hoffman, P. C., S. J. sievert, R. D. Shver D. A. Welch, and D. K. Combs. 1993. In situ dry matter, protein and fibre degradation of perennial forage. Journal of Dairy Science, 76:2632-2643.
20- Horton, G. M. J., 1981. Composition and digestibility of cell wall components in cereal straws after treatment with anhydrous ammonia. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 61: 1059-1062.
21- Hutjens, M. F. 2001. Surviving low milk prices. Available at http://dairynet. text. cfm? section= 1&document ID=464.
22- Khazaal, K., M. T. Dentinho, J. M. Ribeiro, and E. R. Orskov. 1993. A comparison of gas productionduring incubation with rumen contents in vitro and nylon bag degradability as predictors of the apparent digestibility in vivo and the voluntary intake of hays. Animal Production, 57: 105-112.
23- Kibon, A., and E. R. Orskov. 1993. The use of degradation characteristics of browse plants to predict intake and digestibity by goats. Animal Production, 57:247-251.
24- Krishnamoorthy, U., H. Soller, H. Steingass, K.H. Menke. 1995. Energy and protein evaluation of tropical feedstuffs for whole tract and ruminal digestion by chemical analysis and rumen inoculum studies in vitro. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 52, 177–188.
25- Lopez, S., M. D. Carro, J. S. Gonzalez, F. J. Ovejero. 1998. Comparison of different in vitro and in situ methods to estimate the extent and rate of degradation of hays in the rumen. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 79: 99-113.
26- Mason. V.C., R.D. Hartley, A. S. Keene, and J.M. Cobby. 1988. The effect of ammoniation on the nutritive value of wheat. barley and oat straws. I. Chances in chemical comoosition in relation to digertibihty in vitro and cell wall dcgradablity. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 80: 159-171.
27- Mason, V. C., J. E. Cook, M. S. Dhanoa, A. S. Keene, C. J. Hoadley and R. D. Hartley. 1990. Chemical composition, digestibility in vitro and bio degradability of grass hay oven-treated with different amounts of ammonia. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 29: 237-249.
28- Mehrez, A. Z. and E. R. Ørskov. 1977. A study of the artificial fibre bag technique for determiningthe digestibility of feeds in the rumen. Journal of Agriculture Science, 88: 645-650.
29- Menke, K.H and H. Steingass, 1988. Estimation of the Energetic Fed Value from Chemical Analysis and InVitro Gas Production Using Rumen Fluid. Animal Research and Development, 28: 7-55.
30- Menke, K.H., L. Raab, , A. Salewski, , H. Steingass, D. Fritz, W. Schneider. 1979. The estimation of the digestibility and metabolizable energy content of ruminant feeding stuffs from the gas production when they are incubated with rumen liquor in vitro. Journal of Agriculture Science Cambridge, 93: 217-222.
31- Ørskov, E.R., 1998. Feed Evaluation with emphasis on fibrous roughages and fluctuating supply of nutrients .1.A review. Small Ruminant Research, 28: 1-8.
32- Ørskov, E. R., and I. McDonald. 1979. The estimation of protein degradability in the rumen from incubation measurements weighted according to the passage rate. Journal of Agriculture Science, 92: 499- 503.
33- Prassad, C.S. 1993. Domestic From Animals Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, India, pp.188-203.
34- Saenger, P. F., R. P.Lemenager, and K. S. Hendrix. 1983. Effects of Anhydrous Ammonia Treatment of Wheat Straw upon in Vitro Digestion, Performance and Intake by Beef Cattle. Journal of Animal Science, 56:15-20.
35- Saenger, P. F., R. P., Lemenager., and K. S., Hendrix. 1983. Effects of Anhydrous Ammonia Treatment of Wheat Straw upon in Vitro Digestion, Performance and Intake by Beef Cattle. Journal of Animal Science, 56: 15-20.
36- Sahoo, B., M. L. Saraswat., N. Haque., and M. Y. Khan. 2002. Influence of chemical treatment of wheat straw on carbon-nitrogen and energy balance in sheep. Small Ruminant Research, 44: 201-206.
37- SAS Institute. 2004. SAS/STAT user’s guide. SAS Institute Inc, Cary.
38- Schneider, M., and G. Flachowski. 1990. Studies on ammonia treatment of wheat straw: effects of level of ammonia, moisture content, treatment time and temperature on straw composition and degradation in the rumen of sheep. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 29:251-264.
39- Schneider, M. 1988. Studies on the influence of anhydrous ammonia treatment on feeding value of cereal straw. Ph.D. Thesis, School of Animal Production and Veterinary Medicine, Karl-Marx-University, Leipzig, 98 pp. (in German).
40- Singh, B., and S. G. Doel. 1985. Effect of locality and diameter class on chemical composition of Quercusle cotrichophora A. Camus ex Bahadur Seeds. Indian Journal, 5: 301-304.
41- Tavendale, M. H., L. P. Meagher., D. Pacheco., N. Walker., G. T. Attwood., and S. Sivakumaram. 2005. Methane production from in vitro rumen incubations with Lotus pedunculatus and Medicago sativa, and effects of extractable condensed tannin fractions on methanogenesis. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 124: 403-419.
42- Sommart, K., D. S. Parker., P. Rowlinson., and M. Wanapat. 2000. Fermentation characteristics and microbial protein synthesis in an in vitro system using cassava, rice straw and dried ruzi grass as substrates. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Science, 13: 1084-1093.
43- Terashima, Y., Tohrai, N. and H. Itoh.1984. Effect of ammonia treatment on free carboxyl group content and fiber saturation point of rice straw and rice hulls. Japenes Journal of Zootech Science, 55: 569-575.
44- Theodorou, M. K, B. A. Williams, M. S. Dhanoa, A. B. McAllan, and J. France. 1994. A simplegas production method using a pressure transducer to determine the fermentation kinetics of ruminant feeds. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 48: 185-197.
45- Van Soest, P. J., G. B. Robertson, and B. A. Lewis. 1991. Symposium: Carbohydrate methodology, metabolism, and nutritional implications in dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science, 74: 3583-3597.
46- Wolin, M.J., 1960. A Theoretical rumen Fermentation balance Journal of Dairy Science, 43: 1452-1459.
47- Wuliji, T. and W. R. McManus. 1988. Colonization of alkali treated fibrous roughages by anaerobicrumen fungi. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Science,1: 65-71.