The importance of environmental ammonia levels and their control thanks to Alquernat Yucca
Ammonia comes from the decomposition of organic matter such as urine and faeces. It is one of the most harmful gases found in farms and causes important economic losses.
The quality of the environment in farms is a very important factor because animal welfare, productivity and, therefore, economic performance, depend on it. Although certain environmental parameters in farms are controlled methodically and routinely, such as temperature or humidity, others are not controlled systematically. This is the case of the concentration of gases like environmental ammonia.
Gases must be present in the environment in concentrations that do not compromise animal health. Among them, ammonia is especially important. Nowadays, due to high density of animals, high protein diets, and the difficulty to obtain an adequate ventilation, ammonia (NH3) can accumulate and generate problems.
Ammonia comes from the decomposition of organic matter such as urine and faeces. It is one of the most harmful gases found in farms and causes important economic losses. It is highly soluble and evaporates fast and its dispersion is favoured by high humidity and temperature and decreases air quality.
It is an irritant gas, which means it damages the respiratory tract of animals. Its effect on the tracheal mucosal surface ranges from paralysis to total loss of the cilia of the epithelial cells, including necrosis of the mucosal epithelium. The type and degree of the lesions depends on the concentration of ammonia in the environment and the exposure time.
The problem occurs when cilia are altered due to high ammonia levels, since the mucus cannot be eliminated and, thus, the bacteria trapped in the dust particles can reach respiratory organs, including the lungs and the air sacs in the case of birds, and cause an infection.
Diseases related to ammonia
Due to high ammonia levels, animals increase their susceptibility to suffer from respiratory diseases mainly, but also other non-respiratory ones, such as:
- Newcastle disease
- Air sacculitis
- Foot pad lesions
- Ascites due to altered respiratory capacity
- Skin and eye injuries
- Dead newborn piglets
- Respiratory diseases of different etiology (Pasteurella)
- Signs of cannibalism (tail biting)
- Skin and eye injuries
In addition, the lack of animal welfare in the case of high concentrations of this gas produces an increase in stress, which can lead to immunosuppression and, therefore, a higher risk to suffer from infections. Due to this, there is a decrease in the productive parameters and its consequent economic loss.
Therefore, it is necessary to control ammonia emissions in order to obtain good economic returns.
How to fight the excess of ammonia using a natural alternative?
Alquernat Yucca is a natural nutritional supplement that allows to reduce the concentration of ammonia in farms.
It eliminates ammonia-producing bacteria and fixes this component, both in the intestine and in faeces. This way, it:
- Improves animal welfare and worker’s comfort.
- Regulates intestinal transit.
- Improves pork meat acceptance.
- Has a positive impact on the productive parameters.
- Prevents respiratory diseases.
- Reduces corrosion of the machinery and the facilities caused by ammonia.
Its effectiveness is based on the activity of its components, which are:
Glycosides, whose activity is based on their surfactant properties.
- Modulate and select microorganisms: reduce ammonia concentrations indirectly by inhibiting ammonia-producing microorganisms, since saponins affect the permeability of cell membranes. They are active against protozoa, fungi and Gram + bacteria, although their action is very limited.
- Reduce the tension of the cell membrane of the microvilli, favouring the nutrient absorption.
- They inhibit ureases in the intestine, as a consequence, the concentration of intestinal ammonia is reduced, which slows down tissue regeneration and reduces the oxygen demand of the organs irrigated by the portal vein. This increases the oxygen availability of the birds in stressful situations
Complex molecules, highly thermostable, that include some units of sugars or glycosides.
They have the ability to bind ammonia, fix and neutralize it, reducing the high concentrations and converting it into other non-toxic nitrogenous compounds, which do not interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the intestine.
The glycocomponent-ammonia complex can be used by microorganisms in the intestinal flora as a source of nitrogen, which improves digestion.
It provides a high added value to the product, since it is a powerful fungicide and bactericide effective against a wide variety of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and yeasts. It enhances the limited antimicrobial action of saponins and eliminates these ammonia-producing microorganisms.
Use of Alquernat Yucca in commercial layers
The effect of Alquernat Yucca was evaluated on the reduction of ammonia in a farm of 840,000 commercial laying hens located in Mesa de los Santos, Colombia. The administration of Alquernat Yucca was continuous between February and March of 2018, and the ammonia was measured in 3 representative sheds or “PIT”.
The measurements were made in the front, middle and back part of each PIT, both at the beginning and at the end of the trial in order to evaluate the effect of Alquernat Yucca in the reduction of ammonia levels. The results of the measurements are in the following graph:
All the “PIT” show a reduction in ammonia levels from the date of start of treatment until the end.
This reducing effect on the ammonia levels is observed in all the zones, front, middle and back of the PIT, the reduction values can be observed in the table below:
Therefore, the addition of Alquernat Yucca in the diet of layers caused an average ammonia reduction of 47.22 ppm in the whole farm.
In relative terms, this means that up to 63% of ammonia emissions were reduced in the farm.
Alquernat Yucca reduces the ammonia emissions in the farms and, therefore, improves the quality of the environment. This activity is positively reflected on the animals, since it increases comfort, decreases the risk of respiratory and intestinal disorders and improves the productive parameters and efficiency of the farm.