Application of Yucca Schidigera Extract in aquaculture(Shrimp, fish)

Yucca schidigera and its extracts (YSE) are medicinal natural plants that have been found to be of great use in aquaculture. Several studies report that yucca extract improves the performance of fish and shrimp by direct action as a feed, and has favorable effects on growth performance, feed efficiency, and water quality of aquatic animals. Yucca schidigera is rich in steroidal saponins, polyphenols and resveratrol, it can increase protein metabolism in animals, possibly reduces ammonia excretion, improves protein metabolism, improves feed utilization and leads to higher feed intake and growth rates, and enhances immunity. How does Yucca schidigera extract improve quality and performance in aquatic animals?

Yucca Schidigera

Yucca schidigera extract is a growth promoter

The improvement in growth caused by yucca supplements may be related to increased water quality and feed utilization, depending on the state of the gut through regulation of intestinal flora, enzyme activity and absorption. A number of studies have reported the effects of adding Yucca extract at different levels, Proved that feed intake (FI), feed efficiency ratio (FER), feed conversion rate (FCR), protein efficiency ratio (PER), the Yellow River carp (Cyprinus Ms.), spot fork tail (Ictalurus punctatus), the Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus had high protein and lipid apparent digestibility (ADC), growth rate and weight gain, final body weight, and other physiological parameters. In addition, Positive results were also obtained in Paralichthys olivaceus, Dicentrarchus labrax, freshwater shark (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) and other aquaculturation-related species.

In prawn culture, Hernandez-Acosta et al. studied the breeding of white prawn in low salinity water (initial body weight was 2.6 g). And fed 0, 0.25, 0.50, 1.00 and 2.00 g/kg diets with yucca extract and saponaria extract (Quillaja saponaria) for 40 days; The results showed that the weight and FCR of shrimp in the 1.00 and 2.00 g/kg diets were significantly significant. In response to this supplement, weight gain and reduced FCR may be due to increased protein synthesis, increased digestive enzymes, and improved nutrient absorption.

In another study, yang et al. fed 0%, 0.1%, 0.2%, or 0.3% Yucca Saponins diet to penaeus australis (0.82±0.02 g initial body weight) for 100 days. The results showed that 0.2% yucca extract in the diet can improve the growth and water quality of penaeus australis. This is because yucca extract contains sterol saponins and other surface active substances that promote nutrient absorption.

Yucca schidigera extract is an immune stimulant and antioxidant

yucca extracts have shown antioxidative and immunostimulatory activities, which are beneficial for fish health. Yucca’s efficacy as a natural immune stimulant is attributed to its high content of bioactive ingredients such as: alkaloids, terpenes, saponins, steroids, phenols, tannins, glycosides, and flavonoids. Importantly, treatment with yucca extract enhances the immune response, as well as activates antioxidant capacity. Aquatic organisms that ingested yucca extract showed direct enhanced local intestinal immunity, which is associated with a general immune system boost because yucca acts as an antimicrobial agent against pathogenic microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT).

As a result, Yucca reduces gastrointestinal inflammation caused by pathogens and toxins, and alleviates stress caused by adverse aquaculture conditions. It enhances the resistance of aquatic animals to pathogenic microbial infections that may attack organisms in the pond. Indirectly, when farmed water is treated with yucca extract, the accumulation of ammonia is reduced, which, if continued over a long period of time, may lead to immune suppression and defense against pathogen invaders.

Studies using yucca and extracts as antioxidants in aquaculture have shown an increase in total antioxidant capacity (TAC) in Nile tilapia, paralichthys maximus and freshwater sharks. In crustaceans, Yang et al. found that dietary supplementation with 0.2% yucca extract benefited shrimp immunity and linked this improvement to increased serum total protein and reduced harmful and volatile chemicals. Yucca extract was added to the diet at different concentrations of 0, 0.3, 0.6, 0.9 and 1.2mg/L, and the immunity of Macrobrachium rosenbergii was significantly improved after 168 hours. However, caution must be exercised when using high concentrations of saponins in water or feed, as harmful effects on some species have been reported.

Yucca schidigera extract improves water quality

Yucca schidigera extracts are a practical and sustainable solution to reduce ammonia pollution from intensive culture systems. Ammonia is a contaminant that accumulates in ponds due to decomposition of organic matter, resulting in a toxic and irritant gas. When absorbed in the body, ammonia causes damage in the respiratory and ocular membranes and leads to mortality in fish or shrimp.

Severe ammonia toxicity can have a variety of negative effects on aquatic animals, including reduced feed consumption, worsening physiological function, unstable gill respiration, oxidative stress, decreased immunity, and inflammatory features of the gill. Protein metabolism in the body is also poor, resulting in a large amount of energy being expended to balance protein levels in the body. The addition of yucca extract improved the quality of aquaculture water, and reduced the accumulation of ammonia in several aquaculture species, including Nile tilapia and flounder. Reduced ammonia levels are attributed to ammonia binding to steroidal saponins and other compounds in yucca, converting ammonia to nitrite and nitrate, and are associated with reduced pH levels.

The application of yucca schidigera extract in aquaculture helps reduce ammonia emissions in the water and provides cleaner environment for aquatic organisms. Its application is considered as a phytogenic agent for clean aquaculture activity because of its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Yucca schidigera contains urease-inhibiting compounds that effectively prevent the further production of ammonia in the fish and shrimp body by inhibiting the enzyme urease.This approach is supported by a number of recent studies, showing that it reduces ammonia concentrations in ground-well-derived rearing water and increases fish and shrimp growth and survival.