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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 39 No. 1, p. 324-332
    Received: Apr 14, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): mcgrathj@umd.edu
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Modifying Broiler Diets with Phytase and Vitamin D Metabolite (25-OH D3): Impact on Phosphorus in Litter, Amended Soils, and Runoff

  1. Joshua M. McGrath *a,
  2. J. Thomas Simsc,
  3. Rory O. Maguiree,
  4. William W. Saylord and
  5. Roselina Angelb
  1. a Dep. of Environmental Science and Technology
    c Dep. of Plant and Soil Sciences
    e Dep. of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA 24061
    d Dep. of Animal and Food Sciences, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716
    b Dep. of Animal and Avian Sciences, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742


Adding phytase and 25- hydroxycholecalciferol (25-OH D3) to broiler diets has been shown effective at reducing total P concentrations in broiler litter. This study was conducted to determine the impact of field application of broiler litter from modified diets on P solubility in litter-amended soils and P losses in runoff. Five broiler diets and their resulting litters were evaluated: a high P diet, a low P diet, each of those basal diets with phytase added, and a low P diet with phytase and 25-OH D3 added. A field study was initiated at two sites with each of the five broiler litters and a commercial P fertilizer (triple superphosphate [TSP]) applied at the same total P rate (150 kg P ha−1) and a control where no P was applied. Soil P was monitored over time at two depths (0–5 cm and 0–15 cm) soils were collected in the spring and fall to perform rainfall simulation studies. Broiler litter or TSP application increased soil water-soluble P and Mehlich 3-P concentrations relative to the control, however there were no consistent differences detected between litter treatments. Results from the rainfall simulation experiments indicate that diet modification with phytase or 25-OH D3 does not increase the potential for P losses in runoff from amended soils relative to traditional diets. Moreover, broiler diet modification to reduce excreted P could be a potentially effective method for reducing watershed scale P surpluses in areas of intensive broiler production, without raising concerns over soluble P losses from litter-amended soils.

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