Egg Industry Center

Reducing ammonia gas (NH3) is key to employee and animal welfare, as well as good environmental stewardship. Sodium butyrate is a commonly used as a feed additive to help regulate ammonia emissions. Researchers observed its interactions with the cecum to discover its capabilities.

The sodium butyrate and cecal content of 30 Lohmann pink laying hens was measured through in-vitro fermentation experiments and NH3-producing bacteria experiments. Results showed that  sodium butyrate reduced the total gas production of cecal microorganisms. Addition of sodium butyrate decreased NH3 production and increased the nitrate content in the fermentation experiments, indicating that sodium butyrate could promote nitrogen fixation and reduce the free nitrogen content. Testing showed that sodium butyrate significantly downregulated the expression of bacterial genes related to ammonia emissions during metabolism. The optimal supplementation level in this study was 0.15%.

Producer Takeaway: Results showed that sodium butyrate has the following effects in the cecum; reduced the abundance of harmful bacteria, increased beneficial bacteria, and reduced ammonia emissions from bacterial metabolism. 

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