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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #325961

Title: Calcium montmorillonite clay in dairy feed reduces aflatoxin concentrations in milk without interfering with milk quality, composition or yield

item MAKI, CODY - Texas A&M University
item MONTEIRO, ANA - University Of Georgia
item ELMORE, SARAH - Texas A&M University
item TAO, SHA - University Of Georgia
item BERNARD, JOHN - University Of Georgia
item Harvey, Roger
item ROMOSER, AMELIA - Texas A&M University
item PHILLIPS, TIMOTHY - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Animal Feed Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/16/2016
Publication Date: 4/1/2016
Publication URL:
Citation: Maki, C.R., Monteiro, A.P., Elmore, S.E., Tao, S., Bernard, J.K., Harvey, R.B., Romoser, A.A., Phillips, T.D. 2016. Calcium montmorillonite clay in dairy feed reduces aflatoxin concentrations in milk without interfering with milk quality, composition or yield. Animal Feed Science And Technology. 214:130-135.

Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxin (AF) is a toxin produced by fungi that can cause disease and cancer in animals and humans. AF residues are readily transferred into cow’s milk, and AF residues in milk are stringently regulated, prompting the destruction of milk that is above acceptable levels. This costs the dairy industry millions of dollars annually. Twenty-five years ago, researchers at ARS and Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, discovered a compound (NovaSil) that reduced passage of AF into the milk; however, it was not adopted by the dairy industry because it was unknown about potential side effects on cows, milk production and milk quality. The present study showed that cows fed AF and NovaSil had up to a 68% reduction of AF in milk, yet there were no differences in dry matter intake, milk yield, milk protein, or vitamins A and riboflavin due to NovaSil. This is important because it will allow the dairy industry to utilize NovaSil without affecting milk production, but it also assures that the nutrition, wholesomeness, and safety of milk is preserved. Additionally, millions of dollars will be realized from the additional sale of milk that otherwise would have been dumped because of AF contamination.

Technical Abstract: This study was designed to determine if a calcium montmorillonite clay (Novasil Plus, NSP), can significantly reduce aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) concentrations in milk without affecting dry matter intake (DMI), milk yield, milk composition, vitamin A, or riboflavin concentrations. The study was designed using 15 lactating dairy cows randomly assigned to one of 5 treatment groups in a 5 × 5 Latin square experimental design. The cows were treated with diets containing AFB1 at 0 or 121 ppb and three different levels of NSP (0.0, 6.0 and 12.1 g/kg) of the diet. Milk samples were collected and analyzed for AFM1, milk composition, vitamin A, and riboflavin. In this study, AFM1 concentrations in milk were significantly reduced by both 6.0 g/kg and 12.1 g/kg NSP treatment levels. The low dose of NSP (6.0 g/kg) resulted in a decrease in the level of AFM1 in the milk equal to 55%; whereas, the high dose (12.1 g/kg) reduced the level of AFM1 by 68%; milk composition, vitamin A, and riboflavin concentrations were unaffected by any of the dietary treatments. Additionally, dry matter intake (DMI) and milk yield were not different among treatments.