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Rumen digestion and urinary excretion of purine derivatives in response to urea supplementation of sodium-treated straw fed to sheep

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2007

J. Balcells
Affiliation:
Departamento de Producción Animal y Ciencia de los alimentos, Facultad de Veterinaria, Miguel Servet 177, Zaragoza 50013, Spain
J. A. Guada
Affiliation:
Departamento de Producción Animal y Ciencia de los alimentos, Facultad de Veterinaria, Miguel Servet 177, Zaragoza 50013, Spain
C. Castrillo
Affiliation:
Departamento de Producción Animal y Ciencia de los alimentos, Facultad de Veterinaria, Miguel Servet 177, Zaragoza 50013, Spain
J. Gasa
Affiliation:
Departamento de Producción Animal y Ciencia de los alimentos, Facultad de Veterinaria, Miguel Servet 177, Zaragoza 50013, Spain
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Abstract

The present study examined the effect of urea-N supplementation of a N-deficient diet on digestion and metabolism in the rumen. Five Rasa Aragonesa ewes, each fitted with a rumen cannula, were offered alkali-treated barley straw ad lib. alone or supplemented continuously via the cannula with four levels of urea-N (3, 6, 9 and 12 g/d). Rumen NH3 concentrations increased in response to urea infusion (6–128 mg/l; P < 0.001). At the highest level of rumen NH3 concentration there was a significant increase, compared with the unsupplemented treatment, in dry matter (DM) intake (846–1206 g/d; P < 0.001) and apparent digestibility of DM (0.38–0.43), organic matter (0.38–0.45) and neutral-detergent fibre (0.41–0.49; P < 0.01). Rumen outflow rates of particulate matter and potential DM disappearances, assessed using nylon bags, were not affected by the experimental treatments, although fractional rate of DM disappearance increased significantly with increasing levels of urea infusion (2.4–4.6 per h). Urinary excretion of total purine derivatives increased with N supplementation, although the response was exclusively due to an increase in allantoin excretion (26.9–66.4 mg/kg live weight (W)0.75 per d; P < 0.001). Xanthine, hypoxanthine and uric acid excretion rates were constant, averaging 1.8 (SE 0.17); 5.4 (SE 0.21) and 7.2 (SE 0.36) mg/kg W0.75 per d respectively. The maintenance of a minimum rumen NH3 concentration (approximately 50 mg/l) was necessary to avoid significant reductions in DM intake and fermentation rate. Higher levels, however, may further increase microbial N flow at the duodenum, as suggested by the response in urinary allantoin excretion over the range of rumen NH3 concentrations.

Type
Rumenal Metabolism of Purines
Copyright
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 1993

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