BioQuill®: a truly natural feed additive for reducing ammonia emissions in agriculture admin Plantae Labs July 21, 2023
BioQuill®: a truly natural feed additive for reducing ammonia emissions in agriculture

The largest source of ammonia emissions is the agricultural sector, accounting for approximately 90% of the total global ammonia emissions. This has become a growing concern due to their environmental impact and contribution to various issues, including air and water pollution. 

As a colorless gas with a pungent smell, ammonia is naturally released during farming activities, particularly from livestock operations and the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers. 

In this article, we will explore the sources of ammonia emissions, their effects on the environment, and practical ways to reduce their impact with our triterpenic saponins based product line: BioQuil®.

What are the sources of ammonia amissions?


Ammonia emissions in the agricultural sector stem from a variety of sources, each contributing to the release of this gas into the atmosphere:

  • Livestock Manure: One of the primary sources of ammonia emissions is the storage and decomposition of animal waste. As manure breaks down, it liberates ammonia gas, which eventually escapes into the surrounding environment.
  • Synthetic Fertilizers: Another significant contributor to ammonia emissions is the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers in agriculture. When these fertilizers are applied to crops, they have the potential to volatilize, leading to the release of ammonia into the air.
  • Urine Deposition: In grazed pastures where livestock roam freely, ammonia is released into the atmosphere when animals urinate on the ground. The nitrogen-rich content in urine reacts with microorganisms in the soil, resulting in the emission of ammonia gas.
  • Crop Residue Decomposition: Ammonia emissions can also arise from the decomposition of crop residues, such as stubble, left behind after harvest. As these residues break down, ammonia is released as a byproduct
  • Wastewater Treatment: Inadequate treatment of wastewater in agricultural facilities can be a significant source of ammonia release. If wastewater, which may contain nitrogen-rich compounds, is not properly treated before disposal, it can release ammonia into the environment.

What are the effects of ammonia emissions?


Air Pollution:

Ammonia is a significant contributor to air pollution, particularly in agricultural regions where it is released from livestock waste, fertilizers, and other farming practices. 

One of the main issues is its involvement in the formation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

These tiny particles can easily penetrate deep into the respiratory system when inhaled, causing a range of health problems, especially for vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions. 

Prolonged exposure to PM2.5 can lead to respiratory illnesses like asthma, bronchitis, and even cardiovascular problems.


When ammonia is released into the atmosphere, it eventually comes back to the ground through dry or wet deposition. 

In wet deposition, ammonia is carried down to the Earth’s surface by precipitation, such as rain or snow. Once on the ground, it can contribute to soil and water acidification. 

Acidification has adverse effects on soil health, reducing nutrient availability to plants and hindering their growth. It also negatively impacts soil organisms that play essential roles in the ecosystem, such as earthworms and beneficial bacteria. 

In aquatic environments, acidification can disrupt the pH levels, affecting fish populations and other aquatic organisms.


A process that occurs when excess nutrients, including ammonia, enter water bodies like lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. As ammonia concentrations increase, they act as a fertilizer, promoting the rapid growth of algae. 

This excessive algal growth can lead to algal blooms, which create dense mats or scums on the water’s surface. As these algae die and decompose, bacteria break down the organic matter, consuming oxygen in the process.

 Consequently, dissolved oxygen levels in the water decrease, leading to hypoxia or anoxia (low or no oxygen conditions) in what are known as “dead zones.” Fish and other aquatic species struggle to survive in these oxygen-depleted areas, leading to large-scale ecosystem disruptions and even fish kills.

Contribution to Greenhouse Gas Formation: 

While ammonia itself is not a greenhouse gas, its presence in the environment contributes to the production of other greenhouse gases, such as nitrous oxide (N2O). When ammonia interacts with nitrogen oxides (NOx) from other sources, it can undergo processes called nitrification and denitrification. 

During nitrification, ammonia is converted to nitrate (NO3-) by nitrifying bacteria. In denitrification, nitrate is then converted back into nitrogen gas (N2) by denitrifying bacteria.

However, in some cases, the intermediate product, nitrous oxide (N2O), is produced. Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential significantly higher than carbon dioxide. It contributes to the greenhouse effect, trapping heat in the atmosphere and exacerbating climate change.

How Can We Reduce Ammonia Emissions from Agriculture?


Reducing ammonia emissions in agriculture requires a multi-faceted approach that combines technological advancements and sustainable practices, like implementing covered storages for manure management, adopting precision application methods for fertilizers or developing a nutrient management plan for specific crops and soil types.

However, one of the most effective strategies to accomplish this if you are in the livestock farming business is using feed additives, such as compounds containing nitrification or urease inhibitors, capable of interfering with the conversion of nitrogen compounds in animal manure.

To fulfill such a critical goal for the agriculture industry, innovative products like BioQuil® and BioQuil Gold® offer natural solutions:


A proprietary solution made from pure pulverized Quillaja saponaria. This natural product not only decreases ammonia emissions but also enhances productive parameters, such as body weight gain and feed conversion ratio. 

By improving nitrogen intake and providing antibacterial properties, BioQuil® positively impacts gut health and acts as an immunostimulant. It is suitable for all types of poultry, including broilers, laying hens, and turkeys.

BioQuil Gold®: 

A specialized blend of Quillaja saponaria and Yucca schidigera saponins. This unique combination offers outstanding abilities to decrease ammonia emissions with a B50 value below 4. 

Additionally, it improves intestinal health, nutrient absorption, immune response, and other productive parameters. 

As a result, BioQuil Gold® contributes to more efficient and sustainable animal production.

Benefits of BioQuil® and BioQuil Gold® for Livestock Farming Animals

To address the challenge of reducing ammonia emissions in agriculture, innovative products like BioQuil® and BioQuil Gold® offer natural solutions that benefit various livestock farming animals. 

These feed additives play a crucial role in promoting a healthier environment, improving productivity, and enhancing overall welfare. 

Let’s explore the benefits each animal can obtain from using BioQuil® and BioQuil Gold®:


BioQuil® and BioQuil Gold® are highly effective in reducing ammonia levels and other harmful gases in poultry farming. By creating a healthier environment, these products positively impact the birds’ performance and welfare. 

Additionally, they improve productive parameters, such as body weight gain and feed conversion ratio, leading to more efficient and sustainable poultry production.


Ammonia emissions and other gases can adversely affect swine health and productivity.

By incorporating BioQuil® and BioQuil Gold® into their diet, swine farmers can significantly decrease NH3 levels, leading to improved swine health, better productivity, and enhanced welfare. 

Given the expected increase in pork demand in the future, these solutions become crucial for the swine farming industry.


In shrimp farming, BioQuil Gold® offers a groundbreaking solution by reducing ammonia levels and acting as an alternative to antibiotics. 

This natural approach not only enhances productive parameters but also maintains water quality and overall sustainability in the shrimp farming industry. 

By choosing BioQuil Gold®, shrimp farmers can promote better shrimp health and contribute to eco-friendly practices.


In the pet food industry, maintaining consistent and desirable fecal emissions is vital for pet owners. 

BioQuil® and BioQuil Gold® provide a natural solution to control undesirable gases, resulting in improved feces consistency and beneficial effects on intestinal microflora for pets. 

Moreover, these products offer sustainable solutions for odor control and overall gut health, making them a valuable addition to your business.

Overall, BioQuil® and BioQuil Gold® serve as powerful tools to reduce ammonia emissions and improve the health, productivity, and welfare of livestock farming animals. By incorporating these natural solutions into their farming practices, producers can contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture industry.

Final thoughts

Addressing ammonia emissions in agriculture is a pressing concern due to their significant environmental impact and contribution to various issues such as air and water pollution. The agricultural sector, responsible for approximately 90% of global ammonia emissions, must take proactive steps to mitigate these effects.

The sources of ammonia emissions in agriculture are diverse, including livestock manure, synthetic fertilizers, urine deposition, crop residue decomposition, and inadequate wastewater treatment. Each of these sources plays a role in releasing ammonia gas into the atmosphere.

The effects of ammonia emissions are far-reaching and detrimental. They contribute to air pollution, leading to the formation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which can cause serious health problems, especially for vulnerable populations. Ammonia also contributes to acidification of soil and water, disrupts aquatic ecosystems through eutrophication, and indirectly contributes to greenhouse gas formation by promoting the production of nitrous oxide (N2O).

To combat ammonia emissions, innovative solutions like BioQuil® and BioQuil Gold® offer promising natural alternatives. These products, derived from Quillaja saponaria and Yucca schidigera saponins, effectively reduce ammonia emissions while improving animal health, gut health, and other productive parameters in various livestock, including poultry, swine, shrimp, and pets.

Implementing these natural solutions not only benefits the environment by reducing ammonia emissions but also enhances overall livestock production sustainability and animal welfare.

In conclusion, if we embrace these innovative solutions, the industry can work towards mitigating its impact on the environment, create a more responsible agricultural sector and maintain efficient farming practices.

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