Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 171–177 | Cite as

Mineral salt intake effects on faecal-N concentration and the volume and composition of beef cattle urine

  • Abmael da Silva CardosoEmail author
  • Antônio José Neto
  • Mariane Vieira Azenha
  • Eliane Silva Morgado
  • Liziane de Figueiredo Brito
  • Estela Rossetto Janusckiewicz
  • Telma Terezinha Berchielli
  • Ricardo Andrade Reis
  • Ana Cláudia Ruggieri
Regular Articles


The effect of mineral salts on water ingestion and urine volume in cattle has been extensively studied. However, recently, this effect has been investigated as a potential mitigator of environmental aspects related to the nitrogen (N) cycle, such as nitrate (NO3) lixiviation, ammonia (NH3) volatilisation, and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. The effect of mineral salts, particularly sodium chloride (NaCl), on urine-N concentration, urine volume, the proportion of N compounds in the urine, and faecal-N concentration has not yet been explored in field conditions with respect to environmental aspects of beef cattle production. The present study investigated the effect of dietary mineral salt rates on these parameters. A Latin square (5 × 5) experimental design was utilised with five concentrations of mineral salts in the diet: 0.0, 2.0, 4.0, 6.0, and 8.0 g based on dry matter (DM) ingestion (g/kg DM). The nitrogen concentration in the urine and urine volume increased linearly. The total N excreted (g/day) via urine did not vary with increasing mineral salt concentrations. When evaluated, the N compounds of urine (urea-N, allantoin-N, and hippuric acid-N) also reacted to the increased mineral salt concentrations, while creatinine-N did not. Urea-N, allantoin-N, and hippuric acid-N linearly increased their proportions in total N-urine. The N concentration in faeces was not affected by mineral salt concentrations. The urine volume, concentration of N, and proportion of N compounds in the urine affected N2O emissions and NH3 volatilisation. Therefore, mineral salt utilisation may be an option for mitigating N pollution from beef cattle, especially for grasslands in tropical countries.


Urinary N compounds Sodium chloride Nitrogen usage efficiency Urea-N 


Funding sources

This study was funded by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP), under the codes 2012/06718-8 and 2011/00060-8.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical clearance from the study was granted by São Paulo State University Ethical Committee (protocol number 004389/13). The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.

Conflicts of interest statement

We declare that there are no conflicts of interest in this project. Additionally, there is no financial or other relationship with other people or organisations that may inappropriately influence the authors’ work.


  1. Anderson, C., Peterson, M., and Curtin, D., 2017. Base cations, K+ and Ca2+, have contrasting effects on soil carbon, nitrogen and denitrification dynamics as pH rises, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 113, 99–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Association of Official Analytical Chemists International (AOAC), 1995. Official Methods of Analysis. 16th edition. AOAC, Arlington.Google Scholar
  3. Bergmeyer, H.U., 1985. Methods of Enzymatic Analysis. 9 vol, pp 449–453. VCH Publishers, Lincolnshire.Google Scholar
  4. Bertram, J.E., Clough, T.J., Sherlock, R.R., Condron, L.M., O’Callaghan, M., Wells, N.S. and Ray, J.L., 2009. Hippuric acid and benzoic acid inhibition of urine derived N2O emissions from soil, Global Change Biology, 15, 2067–2077.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bristow, A.W., Whitehead, D.C. and Cockburn, J.E., 1992. Nitrogenous constituents in the urine of cattle, sheep, and goats, Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 59, 387–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cardoso, A.S, Quintana, B. G., Janusckiewicz, E. R., de Figueiredo Brito, L., da Silva Morgado, E., Reis, R. A. and Ruggieri, A. C., 2017. N2O emissions from urine-treated tropical soil: Effects of soil moisture and compaction, urine composition, and dung addition, Catena, 157, 325–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cardoso, A.S., Alves, B.J.R., Urquiaga, S. and Boddey, R.M., 2018. Effect of volume of urine and mass of faeces on N2O and CH4 emissions of dairy cow excreta in a tropical pasture, Animal Production Science, 58 (6), 1079–1086.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. De Klein, C.A.M., Eckard, R.J. and Van der Weerden, T.J., 2010. Nitrous oxide emissions from the nitrogen cycle in livestock agriculture: estimation and mitigation. In Nitrous oxide and climate change (ed. K Smith), pp. 107–142. Earthscan, London.Google Scholar
  9. Dijkstra, J., Oenema, O., Van Groenigen, J.W., Spek, J.W., Van Vuuren A.M. and Bannink, A., 2013. Diet effects on urine composition of cattle and N2O emissions, Animal 7, 292–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. FAO, 2015. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). FAOSTAT-Statistical Database, 2015. Available at:
  11. Fujihara, T., Ørskov, E.R. and Reeds, P.J., 1987. The effect of protein infusion on urinary excretion of purine derivatives in ruminants nourished by intragastric nutrition. Journal of Agriculture Science, 109, 7–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gardiner, C. A., Clough, T. J., Cameron, K. C., Di, H. J., Edwards, G. R., and de Klein, C. A., 2018. Assessing the Impact of Non-Urea Ruminant Urine Nitrogen Compounds on Urine Patch Nitrous Oxide Emissions. Journal of Environmental Quality, 47, 812–819.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gerber, P.J., Steinfeld, H., Henderson, B., Motter, A., Opio, C., Dijkman, J., Falcucci, A. and Tempio, G., 2013. Tackling climate change through livestock – A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome.Google Scholar
  14. Gonda, H.L. and Lindberg, J.E., 1994. Evaluation of dietary nitrogen utilization in dairy cows based on urea concentrations in blood, urine and milk, and on urinary concentration of purine derivatives, Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A – Animal Science, 44, 236–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Heinegård, D. and Tiderström, G., 1973. Determination of serum creatinine by a direct colorimetric method, Clinica Chimica Acta, 12, 305–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. IPCC. Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. In: Stocker, T.F. et al. (ed.). Contribution of working group 1 to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.Google Scholar
  17. IUSS Working Group WRB. 2015. World Reference Base for Soil Resources 2014, update 2015 International soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. World Soil Resources Reports No. 106. FAO, Rome.Google Scholar
  18. Kebreab, E., Strathe, A.B., Dijkstra, J., Mills, Jan., Reynolds, C.K., Crompton, L.A., Yan, T. and France, J., 2010. Energy and protein interactions and their effect on nitrogen excretion in dairy cows. In 3rd EAAP International Symposium on energy and protein metabolism and nutrition (ed. GM Crovetto), pp. 417–425. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen.Google Scholar
  19. Kreula, M., Rauramaa, A. and Ettala, T., 1978. The effect of feeding on the hippuric acid content of cow’s urine. Journal of the Scientific Agricultural Society of Finland, 50, 372–377.Google Scholar
  20. Kool, D.M., Hoffland, E., Hummelink, E.W., and Van Groenigen, J.W., 2006. Increased hippuric acid content of urine can reduce soil N2O fluxes. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 38, 1021-1027.Google Scholar
  21. Lantinga, E.A., Keuning, J.A., Groenwold, J. and Deenen, P.J.A.G., 1987. Distribution of excreted nitrogen by grazing cattle and its effect on sward quality, herbage production and utilization. In: Animal manure on grassland and fodder crops:fertilizer or waste? (eds. HG van der Meer, RJ Unwin, TA van Dijk and GC Emnik) pp. 103–117. Martinus Nijhoff, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  22. Ledgard, S.F., Welten, B. and Betteridge, K., 2015. Salt as a mitigation option for decreasing nitrogen leaching losses from grazed pastures, Journal Science Food Agriculture, 95, 3033–3040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liu, H. and Zhou, D., 2014. Mitigation of ammonia and nitrous oxide emissions from pasture treated with urine of sheep fed diets supplemented with sodium chloride, Animal Feed Science and Technology, 192, 39–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Oliveira, A.A., 2014. Manejo do pasto de capim-marandu e suplementação com diferentes fontes de na recria de tourinhos nelore. (unpublished PhD thesis, São Paulo State University)Google Scholar
  25. Pereira, C. H., Patino, H. O., Hoshide, A. K., Abreu, D. C., Rotz, C. A. and Nabinger, C. 2018. Grazing supplementation and crop diversification benefits for southern Brazil beef: A case study, Agricultural Systems, 162, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Poppi, D.P. and MCLennan, S.R., 1995. Protein and energy utilization by ruminants at pasture, Journal of Animal Science, 73, 278–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Posada, S.L., Noguera, R.R., Rodriguez, N.M. and Borges, A.L., 2012. Creatinine used as an indicator of urinary excretion in Nellore cattle, Revista Colombiana de Ciências Pecuárias, 25, 56–63.Google Scholar
  28. National Research Council (NRC), 2016. Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle. 8th edition. National Academy Press, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  29. R Core Team, 2015. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna.Google Scholar
  30. Silva, V. B. D., Silva, A. P. D., Dias, B. D. O., Araujo, J. L., Santos, D. and Franco, R. P., 2014. Decomposition and mineralization of N, P and K of cattle manure and poultry litter isolated or mixed, Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo, 38, 1537–1546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Spek, J.W., Dijkstra, J., Van Duinkerken, G. and Bannink, A., 2013. A review of factors influencing milk urea concentration and its relationship with urinary urea excretion in lactating dairy cattle. Journal of Agricultural Science, 151, 407–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Spek, J.W., Bannink, A., Gort, G., Hendriks, W.H. and Dijkstra, J., 2012. Effect of sodium chloride intake on urine volume, urinary urea excretion, and milk urea concentration in lactating dairy cattle, Journal of Dairy Science, 95, 7288–7298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Van Groenigen, J.W., Palermo, V., Kool, D.M. and Kuikman, P.J., 2006. Inhibition of denitrification and N2O emission by urine-derived benzoic and hyppuric acid. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 38, 2499–2502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Van Soest, P.J., Robertson, J.B., Lewis B.A., 1991. Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber and non-starch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition, Journal of Dairy Science, 74, 3583–3597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Van Vuuren, A.M., Smits, M.C.J., 1997. Effect of nitrogen and sodium chloride intake on production and composition of urine in dairy cows. In Gaseous nitrogen emissions from grasslands (ed. SC Jarvis and BF Pain), pp. 195–199. CAB International, Wallingford.Google Scholar
  36. Weiss, W.P., Willett, L.B., ST-Pierre, N.R., Borger, D.C., MCKelvey, T.R. and Wyatt, D.J., 2009. Varying forage type, metabolizable protein concentration, and carbohydrate source affects manure excretion, manure ammonia, and nitrogen metabolism of dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 92, 5607–5619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abmael da Silva Cardoso
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antônio José Neto
    • 2
  • Mariane Vieira Azenha
    • 3
  • Eliane Silva Morgado
    • 4
  • Liziane de Figueiredo Brito
    • 5
  • Estela Rossetto Janusckiewicz
    • 6
  • Telma Terezinha Berchielli
    • 1
  • Ricardo Andrade Reis
    • 1
  • Ana Cláudia Ruggieri
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Zootecnia, Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e VeterináriasUniversidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)JaboticabalBrazil
  2. 2.NutripuraRondonopolisBrazil
  3. 3.Embrapa Southeast LivestockSão CarlosBrazil
  4. 4.Faculdade de Medicina VeterináriaUniversidade Federal de UberlândiaUberlândiaBrazil
  5. 5.Queensland UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  6. 6.Universidade Estadual do Mato Grosso do SulNova AndradinaBrazil

Personalised recommendations