A Method for Determination of Nitrogen in Ruminant Feedstuffs and Products

  • Islam, M.R. (Animal Production Research Division, Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute) ;
  • Ishida, M. (National Grassland Research Institute) ;
  • Ando, S. (National Grassland Research Institute) ;
  • Nishida, T. (National Grassland Research Institute) ;
  • Yamada, T. (National Grassland Research Institute)
  • Received : 2002.03.27
  • Accepted : 2003.04.28
  • Published : 2003.10.01


A method for the determination of nitrogen in ruminant feedstuffs, products and excreta (e.g. milk and urine) using a spectrophotometer is developed, where samples processed for P determination are also used to determine N. Samples are digested with sulphuric acid and subsequently with hydrogen peroxide in Kjeldahl tubes. Digested solutions along with phenol and buffered alkaline hypochlorite reagents are incubated in a water bath at $37^{\circ}C$ for 30 min and presented in the spectrophotometer. The spectrophotometer set at 625 nm measures the concentration of N of each sample. Nitrogen in 261 of the samples was also determined by the classical Kjeldahl method in order to develop a relationship between N determined by the Kjeldahl method (Y) and the colorimetric method (X). The mean value of Y was as high as that of X (0.92 vs. 0.96; p>0.05). The colorimetric method predicted Kjeldahl N highly significantly (Y=0.985X-0.024, $R^2=0.993$, p<0.001; or more simply Y=0.974X, $R^2=0.993$, p<0.001). An analysis of regression found no difference (p>0.05; both t-test and F-test) between colorimetric (0.96% N) and adjusted (0.96% N) N. In comparison with the Kjeldahl method, the analytical capacity of N by colorimetric method increases greatly, where 200-300 determinations of N are possible in a working day. In addition, the system provides an opportunity to use not only the same digested solution for both N and P determination of a particular sample, but also uses the same spectrophotometer to assay both N and P. Therefore, the system may be attractive in situations where both elements of a sample are to be determined. In conclusion, the speed of N determination, low cost, efficient use of labour, time and reagents, fewer items of equipment, and the reduction of environmental pollution by reducing effluent and toxic elements are the advantages of this method of N determination.


Supported by : Science and Technology Agency and Ministry of Agriculture


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