Innovative Solution to High Ammonia Levels in Aquaculture
Elevated ammonia levels in aquaculture systems can lead to a range of adverse effects, including physiological stress, gill damage, suppression of the immune system, and in extreme cases, mortality.
Aquaculture plays a crucial role in providing food and economic resources. However, the well-being and growth of aquatic organisms in cultivation systems can be affected by various factors, with ammonia levels in the water being among the most important. Ammonia is a byproduct of protein and other nitrogenous compound metabolism, and its accumulation can lead to serious consequences for animal welfare.
Consequences of Elevated Ammonia Levels
Elevated ammonia levels in aquaculture systems can lead to a range of adverse effects, including physiological stress, gill damage, suppression of the immune system, and in extreme cases, mortality. Additionally, ammonia can negatively impact water quality and the overall well-being of the aquatic ecosystem. Therefore, implementing effective strategies to control and reduce ammonia levels in aquaculture systems is crucial.
On the other hand, in aquaculture farms, elevated ammonia levels not only reduce the well-being of aquatic organisms but can also significantly impact the well-being of workers operating in these environments. Ammonia is a highly irritating and toxic gas, and its presence in the air can pose a risk to worker well-being. Common symptoms include respiratory and eye irritation, fatigue, headaches, sensitization, and more.
An innovative solution has recently been developed to address ammonia levels in aquaculture. This solution is based on the combination of Yucca spp. extract (rich in saponins and phenolic compounds) and cimenol. The saponins present in Yucca spp. extract play a crucial role in inhibiting ureases, enzymes responsible for ammonia production. Additionally, saponins act as surfactants, enhancing nutrient absorption and exhibiting antimicrobial properties.
The combination of saponins and phenolic compounds contributes to the formation of less toxic salts from ammonia, reducing its negative impact on aquatic organisms. Phenolic compounds also participate in transforming ammonia into less harmful forms. On the other hand, cimenol provides bactericidal and fungicidal properties, enhancing the antimicrobial activity of saponins and helping to maintain a healthy aquatic environment.
A trial conducted in a tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) farm revealed promising results regarding these active principles.
By maintaining adequate ammonia levels thanks to the extract of Yucca spp. and the cimenol ring, stress, gill damage, and effects on the immune system are reduced. This allows the animals to optimize their growth, improve their average daily gain and biomass and decrease feed consumption.
Finally, thanks to a lower cost in feed and a higher biomass gain, the farms obtain a better economic balance.
Accumulation of ammonia in aquaculture systems can have serious repercussions on the welfare and growth of aquatic organisms. The combination of Yucca spp extract and the cimenol ring shows great potential to mitigate the negative effects of ammonia in aquaculture. Results from the tilapia trial indicate significant improvements in growth and feed efficiency. This solution plays a crucial role in driving the profitability, sustainability, and success of the aquaculture industry.
The product based on extracts of Yucca spp. and the cimenol ring is marketed by Biovet S.A. under the name of Alquernat Yucca and is available in premix and liquid formats.