Measuring ammonia concentrations in the barn using the Draeger(TM) and pHydrion(TM) tests

Catherine E. Dewey, DVM, MSc, PhD; Barbara Cox, MSc; JoAnna Leyenaar, BSc

Complete article is available online.

PDF version is available online.

Purpose: To determine the precision and cost-effectiveness of the pHydrion(TM) ammonia test relative to the Draeger(TM) volumetric pump/ammonia detector tube method in measuring ammonia concentrations in swine barns.

Methods: Ammonia concentrations in farrowing, nursery, finisher, and gestating barns were monitored for 8 weeks using both the pHydrion(TM) test strips and the Draeger(TM) unit. The ammonia measurements were compared using bivariate correlation analysis. Average ammonia concentrations in each barn type were compared using an ANOVA. The precision and cost-effectiveness of each assay were demonstrated by plotting the width of the confidence interval by the number of dollars available for ammonia detection, as well as by the number of tests performed.

Results: The mean ammonia concentrations differed by room type (P <.05) and increased in the following order: nursery, farrowing, gestating, and finishing rooms. Ammonia concentrations in all barn types frequently (52%) exceeded 7.5 ppm; ammonia concentrations greater than 7.5 ppm are associated with respiratory problems in humans. The concentrations reached or exceeded 25 ppm 7.6% of the time. Although the Draeger(TM) unit provided more precise measurements when a small number of tests were performed, the cost of each test was quite high. It was found that the pHydrion(TM) ammonia test provided more precise measurements when available funding was taken into consideration. Correlation analysis found that the ammonia measurements taken with the Draeger(TM) unit and pHydrion(TM) test strips were highly correlated (r=.80).

Implications: The variability between barn types and measurement days underlies the importance of regular ammonia monitoring. The pHydrion(TM) ammonia test provides a precise and cost-efficient means of monitoring ammonia concentrations in swine confinement buildings.

Keywords: ammonia, air quality

RIS citationCite as: Dewey CE, Cox B, Leyenaar J. Measuring ammonia concentrations in the barn using the Draeger(TM) and pHydrion(TM) tests. J Swine Health Prod 2000;8(3):127-131.

Search the AASV web site for pages with similar keywords.