Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



Due to the rapidly expanding human population, one of the greatest problems facing agricultural scientists is the development of adequate food resources to meet the growing demand for quality protein. The development of more economical and higher quality feed for ruminant animals is essential since they are one of man's primary sources of animal protein. Microorganisms in the ruminant stomach convert relatively cheap non-protein nitrogen compounds into bacterial proteins, which are digested, absorbed, and utilized by the host animal. Urea, a common non-protein nitrogen compound, is hydrolyzed into ammonia and carbon dioxide by bacterial urease. When urea is hydrolyzed faster than it is utilized by bacteria, quantities of ammonia are absorbed through the rumen wall into the bloodstream. This normally creates no problem, since the ammonia is converted into urea by the liver, however, toxicity may occur if the blood ammonium-nitrogen (BAN) level surpasses the animal's detoxification capacity. High levels of BAN are not only toxic, but result in an efficient utilization of nitrogen for protein synthesis. There have been extensive investigations involving the physiological, nutritional, and metabolic effects of an elevated BAN level. However, inadequate information is available concerning body fluid, differential tissue ammonia content, and blood hemogram quantities resulting from toxic BAN levels. The purpose of this investigation was to detect changes in the following hemogram parameters resulting from acute ammonia intoxication: packed cell volume (PCV), hemoglobin concentration (Hb), total red blood cell count (RBC), and total white blood cell count (WBC).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ammonia -- Physiological effect



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University