Aflatoxins constitute a family of secondary metabolites produced mainly by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aflatoxins are known to affect important foods, including oilseeds and cereals.
Aflatoxins comprise aflatoxin B1, B2, G1, G2, M1 and M2 in which AFB1 shows increased toxicity in addition to causing immunosuppression, carcinogenicity, teratogenicity and mutagenicity (Bhat et al., 2010).
The secretion of aflatoxin AFB1 depends on abiotic factors such as:
|The toxicity of AFB1 in animals varies by age, sex and species, as well as the dose and duration of exposure to this toxin (Dhanasekaran et al. , 2011).|
In chickens, aflatoxicosis is usually characterized by weakness, decreased weight gain lower feed efficiency and egg production. Also including more severe symptoms involving hemorrhagic liver and death (Dalvi et al. , 1986).
Feed contaminated with AFB1 in pigs creates symptoms similar to those of poultry. These involve reduced feed intake, impaired liver and immune functions, as well as altered serum biochemical parameters (Devreese et al., 2013).
Pierron et al. (2016) found that dietary exposure to AFB1 in pigs resulted in altered lymphocyte activation, a negative influence on vaccine efficacy, and a delayed cell-mediated immune response.
Dairy cattle are relatively more resistant to mycotoxins including aflatoxins due to the ability of rumen microflora to biotransform toxins into less toxic metabolites upon ingestion (Fink-Gremmels et al., 2013).
However, AFB1 can directly affect the metabolism of rumen microflora and consequently hinder rumen digestion (Gallo et al. , 2015).
The toxicity of AFB1 in dairy cows has a double importance, since it affects the anima’s performance and leads to milk contamination being of great concern for human food.
Prevention of aflatoxicosis with the use of dietary supplements
Source: Abstract taken from “Protective and Detoxifying Effects Conferred by
Dietary Selenium and Curcumin against
AFB1-Mediated Toxicity in Livestock: A Review” Aniket Limaye et al., Toxins 2018, 10, 25;
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