Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Mycotoxins are toxic chemicals produced by certain species of fungi and aflatoxins are a subset of mycotoxins. These mycotoxins can occur as natural contaminants of feedstuffs which may then be used to feed poultry and livestock. Young turkey poults are very sensitive to aflatoxins and the consumption of feed contaminated with these mycotoxins costs the turkey industry millions of dollars annually. Practical and cost effective methods to detoxify mycotoxins are currently not available. The present research was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of ozone gas to destroy aflatoxins in naturally contaminated corn and confirm its destruction in the corn by feeding it to young turkey poults. These results show that treatment of contaminated corn with ozone provided almost complete protection against the toxicity of aflatoxins in young turkey poults. Importantly, the treatment of the non-contaminated corn with ozone did not alter the performance of the turkey poults. This research established a method to salvage whole corn contaminated with aflatoxin for animal production and could result in annual savings of millions of dollars, not only by salvaging the grain, but also by reducing the costs of disposing of the contaminated unusable grain.
Previous studies have demonstrated that a novel source of ozone gas (O3) may be used to chemically degrade numerous mycotoxins, including aflatoxin B1 (AfB1). Subsequent in vitro analyses demonstrated detoxification of AfB1, suggesting a potential method to remediate aflatoxin contaminated grain. The objective of this study was to evaluate the capability of electrolytically-produced ozone to degrade AfB1 in naturally-contaminated whole kernel corn and confirm detoxification in turkey poults. Corn was procured from the southern coastal area of Texas and HPLC revealed 1,220 +/- 73.3 ppb AfB1. Control and contaminated corn were treated for 92 h with O3 at 200 mg/min in 30 kg batches; greater than 95% reduction of AfB1 in contaminated corn was achieved. One-day-old female turkey poults were fed 1) control corn, 2) control corn + O3, 3) AfB1 corn, or 4) AfB1 corn + O3 mixed in rations (46% by wt.) ad libitum for three weeks. When compared with controls, turkeys fed AfB1 corn had reduced body weight gain and relative liver weight, whereas turkeys fed control corn + O3 or AfB1 corn + O3 did not differ from controls. Furthermore, alterations in the majority of relative organ weights, liver discoloration, serum enzyme activity, hematological parameters and blood chemistry caused by AfB1 were eliminated (no difference from controls) by treatment with O3. These data demonstrate that treatment of contaminated corn with electrolytically- produced O3 provided protection against AfB1 in young turkey poults. It is important to note that treatment of control corn with O3 did not alter the performance of the turkey poults.