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Assessing the impact of non-urea ruminant urine nitrogen compounds on urine patch nitrous oxide emissions

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 21:49 authored by Camilla Gardiner, Timothy Clough, Keith Cameron, Di Hong, Grant Edwards, Cecile DeKlein
Urea, the dominant form of N in ruminant urine, degrades in soil to produce N2O emissions. However, the fate of non‐urea urine N compounds (NUNCs) in soil and their contribution to urine patch N2O emissions remain unclear. This study evaluated five NUNCs: allantoin (10%), creatinine (3%), creatine (3%), uric acid (1%), and (hypo)xanthine (0.6%), where numbers in parentheses represent the average percentage of total urine N. The fates of NUNCs in a pasture soil were determined using 15N‐labeled NUNCs in a laboratory trial. Two NUNCs, hypoxanthine and creatine, were added to the soil with perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) present and sampled over time for soil inorganic N, N2O emissions, and plant N dynamics. The 15N enrichments of soil inorganic N and plant N were significantly increased within 24 h of NUNC application, indicating rapid microbial degradation and plant uptake of NUNCs in pasture soil. An autumn field trial was also conducted to evaluate the in situ impact of varying concentrations of NUNCs on urine patch N2O emissions. Increasing the proportion of urine N excreted as NUNCs did not alter the urine patch N2O emission factor, soil inorganic N concentrations, or plant N uptake. It is concluded that NUNCs rapidly degrade in pasture soil and that an increased ruminant excretion of urine N as NUNCs does not significantly alter the urine patch N2O emission factor.


Rights statement

Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No



Journal title

Journal of Environmental Quality




Gardiner, C. A., Clough, T. J., Cameron, K. C., Hong, J. D., Edwards, G. A., & de Klein, C. A. M. (2018). Assessing the impact of non-urea ruminant urine nitrogen compounds on urine patch nitrous oxide emissions. Journal of Environmental Quality, 47(4), 812–819. doi:10.2134/jeq2018.03.0112

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