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Effects of high ambient temperature on urea‐nitrogen recycling in lactating dairy cows

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Effects of exposure to hot environment on urea metabolism were studied in lactating Holstein cows. Four cows were fed ad libitum a total mixed ration and housed in a temperature‐controlled chamber at constant moderate (18°C) or high (28°C) ambient temperatures in a cross‐over design. Urea nitrogen (N) kinetics was measured by determining urea isotopomer in urine after single injection of [15N2]urea into the jugular vein. Both dry matter intake and milk yield were decreased under high ambient temperature. Intakes of total N and digestible N were decreased under high ambient temperature but urinary urea‐N excretion was increased. The ratio of urea‐N production to digestible N was increased, whereas the proportion of gut urea‐N entry to urea‐N production tended to be decreased under high ambient temperature. Neither return to the ornithine cycle, anabolic use nor fecal excretion of urea‐N recycled to the gut was affected by ambient temperature. Under high ambient temperature, renal clearance of plasma urea was not affected but the gut clearance was decreased. Increase of urea‐N production and reduction of gut urea‐N entry, in relative terms, were associated with increased urinary urea‐N excretion of lactating dairy cows in higher thermal environments.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Graduate School of Biosphere Science, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima 2: National Agricultural Research Center for Kyushu Okinawa Region, Koshi, Kumamoto, Japan

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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