Automated simultaneous determination of ammonia and total amino acids in ruminal fluid and in vitro media

J Dairy Sci. 1980 Jan;63(1):64-75. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(80)82888-8.


Catalyzed phenol-hypochlorite and ninhydrin colorimetric procedures were adapted to the Technicon AutoAnalyzer for simultaneous determination of ammonia and total amino acids in ruminal fluid or ruminal in vitro media. The manifold developed was compatible with a sampling rate of 40/h without significant sample-to-sample carryover. With proper storage, reagents for both the phenol-hypochlorite and the air-stable ninhydrin systems were stable for 8 mo or more. Response of individual amino acids in the phenol-hypochlorite system were generally 1% or less than equimolar amounts of ammonia. Certain amino acids inhibited ammonia color yield 10 to 15% when with equimolar amounts of ammonia; however, the inhibitory effect of casein amino acids was only 2 to 3%. Although ninhydrin response, relative to leucine, of individual alpha-amino acids ranged from 62 (valine) to 151% (histidine), recoveries of casein amino acids from ruminal fluid had coefficients of variation of 1% or less. Coefficients of variation for ammonia recoveries from ruminal fluid by the phenol-hypochlorite procedure were about half of those for the Conway microdiffusion technique. Intraclass correlations for the adapted procedures indicated high degrees of accuracy and precision for both ammonia and amino acid analyses.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis*
  • Ammonia / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Automation
  • Cattle
  • Colorimetry / instrumentation
  • Colorimetry / methods
  • Culture Media
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ninhydrin
  • Phenols
  • Rumen / analysis*


  • Amino Acids
  • Culture Media
  • Phenols
  • Ammonia
  • Ninhydrin