Nitrous Oxide Emissions of the Italian Mediterranean Buffalo Breeding: Influence of Management

Main Article Content

Lorenza Albano
Nunzia Ciriello
Giuseppe Auriemma
Raffaele Palomba
Giuseppe Grazioli
Fiorella Sarubbi


Livestock emissions play an important role in environmental impact.

This study is aimed to quantify the excretion of nitrogen in lactating buffaloes by comparing four different management types of livestock.

The data obtained were subjected to statistical processing to evaluate any significant differences between the farm’s object of the study achieved with different systems (management effect).

The DM administered was found to be similar for the conventional and biological conduction farm, being lower in the family farm and significantly lower in sustainable conduction.

The amount of nitrogen excreted (%N intake) varied from 69.8% for buffaloes bred in the organic farm to 75.8% for the sustainable farm.

However, this trend tends to balance out when comparing the amount of total nitrogen eliminated. Therefore, the efficiency of dietary nitrogen use (nitrogen excreted in the feces expressed as percentage of total nitrogen eliminated) was 48.0, 30.8, 45.2 and 44.0 respectively for family, conventional, organic and sustainable.

All these data show that, overall, the most efficient management system for using nitrogen, both in terms of performance (milk production) and in terms of environmental impact (excretion of nitrogen) is the biological one.

Finally, the data obtained confirmed the clear difference in the use of nitrogen between the buffalo and bovine species, leading to the conclusion that buffaloes should be considered separately from cattle in counting the environmental impact from nitrogen pollution.

High variability among the farms, related to different environmental impacts, was probably related to different management and feeding plan. Therefore, it would be advisable to consider them separately from cattle in calculating the adult bovine unit/ha (UBA/ha) for the disposal of livestock waste. Giving greater attention to the sustainability of the administered ration appears hence to be a promising strategy for the mitigation of nitrogen impact on the environment.

Nitrous oxide emissions, buffalo, management, environmental impact.

Article Details

How to Cite
Albano, L., Ciriello, N., Auriemma, G., Palomba, R., Grazioli, G., & Sarubbi, F. (2020). Nitrous Oxide Emissions of the Italian Mediterranean Buffalo Breeding: Influence of Management. Asian Journal of Research in Biosciences, 2(2), 10-18. Retrieved from
Short Research Articles


Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; 2005.

Steinfeld H, Gerber P, Wassenaar T, Castel V, Rosales M, De Haan C. Livestock’s long shadow: Environmental issues and options. FAO, Rome; 2006.

Tamminga S. Nutrition management of dairy cow as a contribution to pollution control. J. Dairy Sci. 1992;75:345-357.

Barlese M, Corazzin M, Bovolenta S. Environmental sustainability assessment of mozzarella cheese production chain: A scenario analysis. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2019;238. Art. Number 117922.

Sabia E, Napolitano F, Claps S, De Rosa G, Barile ML, Broghiei A, Pacelli C. Environmental impact of dairy buffalo heifer kept on pasture or in confinement. Agricultural System. 2018;159:42-49.

Di Palo R. Produzione lattea nella bufala con diete tradizionali e con l'impiego di acidi grassi. Ph.D'sThesis, University of Naples, Italy; 1992.

Campanile G, Di Palo R, Infascelli F, Gasparrini B, Neglia G, Zicarelli F, D’Occhio MJ. Influence of rumen protein degradability on productive and reproductive performance in buffalo cows. Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 2003;43:557-566.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – IPCC Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme. Technical Support Unit. Hayama. Kanagawa, Japan; 2006.

SPSS®. User Guide, Ver. 24.0. SPSS Inc. Chicago, IL, USA; 2017.

Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Tables de l’alimentation des bovins, ovins et caprins. Services des publications de l’INRA, Versailles; 1988.

Neglia G, Balestrieri A, Gasparrini B, Cutrignelli MI, Bifulco G, Salzano A, Cimmino R, Varricchio E, D’Occhio MJ, Campanile G. Nitrogen and phosphorus utilisation and excretion in dairy buffalo intensive breeding. Italian Journal of Animal Science. 2016;13:33-62.

Habib G, Hameed A, Saleem M. Effect of dietary levels of protein on milk production, milk-urea and nitrogen use efficiency in peri-urban milking buffaloes. The Journal Animal Plant Science. 2019;29(6).

Fanchone A, Nozière P, Portelli J, Duriot B, Largeau V, Doreau M. Effects of nitrogen underfeeding and energy source on nitrogen ruminal metabolism, digestion and nitrogen partitioning in dairy cows. J. Anim. Sci. 2013;91:895-906.

Xiccato G, Schiavon S, Gallo L, Bailoni L, Bittante G. Nitrogen excretion in dairy cow, beef and veal cattle, pig and rabbit farms in Northern Italy. Ital. J. Anim. Sci. 2005;4(Suppl. 3):103-111.

Flis SA, Wattiaux MA. Effects of parity and supply of rumen degraded and undegraded protein on production and nitrogen balance in Holsteins. J. Dairy Sci. 2005;88:2096-2106.

Melli E. È possibile quantificare le emissioni di gas serra in allevamento? Ambiente e Management, Ruminantia mensile, 6; 2017.

Dijkstra J, Oenema O, van Groenigen JW, Spek JW, van Vuuren AM, Bannink A. Diet effects on urine composition of cattle and N2O emissions. Greenhouse Gases & Animal Agriculture Conference, 23rd - 26th June 2013, Dublin, Ireland. 2013;7(s2).