Methodology for concurrent determination of urea kinetics and the capture of recycled urea nitrogen by ruminal microbes in cattle. Academic Article uri icon


  • We measured the incorporation of recycled urea-nitrogen (N) by ruminal microbes, using five ruminally and duodenally fistulated steers (237 kg) fed low-quality grass hay (47 g crude protein/kg dry matter (DM)). Three received 1 kg/day of soybean meal (SBM) and two received no supplemental protein (control). The experiment was 15 days long. Background enrichments of 15N were measured on day 9 and continuous jugular infusion of 0.12 g/day [15N15N]urea began on day 10. Daily samples of urine, feces, ruminal bacteria and duodenal digesta from days 10 through 14 were used to determine plateaus in 15N enrichment. Duodenal and bacterial samples collected on day 15 were used to measure duodenal N flows. Bacterial N flow was calculated as duodenal N flow multiplied by duodenal 15N enrichment divided by bacterial 15N enrichment. Bacterial N from recycled urea-N was calculated as bacterial N flow multiplied by bacterial 15N enrichment divided by urinary urea 15N enrichment. Urinary enrichment of [15N15N]urea plateaued within 24 h, whereas 14N15N urea plateaued within 48 h of [15N15N]urea infusion. Bacteria reached a plateau in 15N enrichment within 24 h and duodenal samples within 48 h. Urea production was 17.6 g of urea-N/day for control and 78.0 g/day for SBM. Gut entry was 0.99 g of urea-N/g of urea-N produced for control and 0.87 g/g for SBM. Incorporation of recycled N into microbial N was 9.0 g of N/day for control and 23.0 g/day for SBM. Recycled urea-N accounted for 0.33 g of N/g of microbial N at the duodenum for control and 0.27 g/g for SBM. Our methods allowed measurement of incorporation of recycled urea-N into ruminal microbial N.

published proceedings

  • Animal

author list (cited authors)

  • Wickersham, T. A., Titgemeyer, E. C., & Cochran, R. C.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Wickersham, TA||Titgemeyer, EC||Cochran, RC

publication date

  • March 2009

published in