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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Accepted Articles
DOI:    [Accepted] Published online November 3, 2017.
Effects of low dietary cation-anion difference induced by ruminal ammonium chloride infusion on performance, serum, and urine metabolites of lactating dairy cows
Kun Wang1, Xuemei Nan1, Puyi Zhao1, Wei Liu1, James Drackley4, Shijie Liu5, Kaizhan Zhang6, Dengpan Bu1,2,*
1State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, 100193, P. R. China, beijing, China
2CAAS-ICRAF Joint Lab on Agroforestry and Sustainable Animal Husbandry, World Agroforestry Centre, East and Central Asia, Beijing 100193, P. R. China, Beijing, China
3Hunan Co-Innovation Center of Animal Production Safety, CICAPS, Changsha, Hunan 410128, P. R. China, Beijing, China
4Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801, Urbana, United States
5China feed industry association, Beijing, 100125, P. R. China, Beijing, China
6Beijing Sino Farm, Beijing, 100125, P. R. China, Beijing, China
Correspondence:  Dengpan Bu, Tel: +86-010-62813901, Fax: +86-010-62897587, Email:
Received: 18 July 2017   • Revised: 18 September 2017   • Accepted: 23 October 2017
Objective: The objective of the present study was to determine ammonium chloride tolerance of lactating dairy cows, by examining effects of negative DCAD induced by ruminal ammonium chloride infusion on performance, serum and urine minerals, serum metabolites and enzymes of lactating dairy cows.


Four primiparous lactating Chinese Holstein cows fitted with ruminal cannulas were infused with increasing amounts (0, 150, 300, or 450 g/d) of ammonium chloride in a crossover design. The DCAD of the base diet was 279 mEq/kg DM using the DCAD formula (Na + K − Cl − S)/kg of DM. Ammonium chloride infusion added the equivalent of 0, 128, 330, and 536 mEq/kg DM of Cl in treatments. According to the different dry matter intakes, the resulting actual DCAD of the four treatments was 279, 151, -51 and -257 mEq/kg DM, respectively.


DMI decreased linearly as DCAD decreased. Yields of milk, 4% FCM, ECM, milk fat, and milk protein decreased linearly as DCAD decreased. Concentrations of milk protein and MUN increased linearly with decreasing DCAD. Concentration of Cl- in serum increased linearly and concentration of PO43- in serum increased quadratically as DCAD decreased. Urine pH decreased linearly and calculated urine volume increased linearly with decreasing DCAD. Linear increases in daily urinary excretion of Cl-, Ca2+, PO43-, urea N, and ammonium were observed as DCAD decreased. Activities of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and γ-glutamyl transferase in serum and urea N concentration in serum increased linearly as DCAD decreased.


In conclusion, negative DCAD induced by ruminal ammonium chloride infusion resulted in a metabolic acidosis, had a negative influence on performance, and increased serum enzymes indicating potential liver and kidney damage in lactating dairy cows. Daily ammonium chloride intake by lactating dairy cows should not exceed 300 g, and 150 g/d per cow may
Keywords: Lactating dairy cow; DCAD; Ammonium chloride; Serum and urine metabolites

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