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Review Paper
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2009;22(3): 440-447.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2009.r.03    Published online March 4, 2009.
Quantitative Comparison of Diversity and Conformity in Nitrogen Recycling of Ruminants
T. Obitsu*, K. Taniguchi
Correspondence:  T. Obitsu,
Domestic ruminant animals are reared in diverse production systems, ranging from extensive systems under semi-arid and tropical conditions with poor feed resources to intensive systems in temperate and cold areas with high quality feed. Nitrogen (N) recycling between the body and gut of ruminants plays a key role in the adaptation to such diverse nutritional conditions. Ammonia and microbial protein produced in the gut and urea synthesized in the liver are major players in N-recycling transactions. In this review, we focus on the physiological factors affecting urea production and recycling. Sheep and buffalo probably have higher abilities to reabsorb urea from the kidney compared with cattle. This affects the degree of urea-N recycling between the body and gut at both low and high N intakes. The synthesis and gut entry of urea also differs between cattle bred for either dairy or beef production. Lactating dairy cows show a higher gut entry of urea compared with growing cattle. The synthesis and recycling of urea dramatically increases after weaning, so that the functional development of the rumen exerts an essential role in N transactions. Furthermore, high ambient temperature increases urea production but reduces urea gut entry. An increase in total urea flux, caused by the return to the ornithine cycle from the gut entry, is considered to serve as a labile N pool in the whole body to permit metabolic plasticity under a variety of physiological, environmental and nutritional conditions.
Keywords: Urea; Liver; Gastrointestinal Tract; Nitrogen
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