Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences


Particulate matter pollution has become a subject of great concern across the globe. Emissions data has revealed that the agricultural sector is making large contributions to particulate matter through ammonia emissions. Beef and dairy cattle are responsible for producing nearly 50% of annual ammonia emissions in the United States. These animals are often fed amounts of dietary protein that exceed recommendations, resulting in increased excretion of urea and ammonia. These compounds combine with nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere to form PM2.5: particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter. Research has shown that through proper dietary management of protein, ammonia emissions in the agricultural sector can be reduced, leading to a healthier environment. Unfortunately, dietary protein is often overfed to cattle to promote increased production. As such, this research aims to better inform producers of the environmental and health risks that arise when dietary protein is not properly balanced, and to encourage evaluation of current diets in order to assess feed efficiency and identify instances of overfeeding.



Faculty Mentor

Kara Thornton-Kurth

Departmental Honors Advisor

Lee Rickords