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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fayetteville, Arkansas » Poultry Production and Product Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #338937

Research Project: Antibiotic Alternatives for Controlling Foodborne Pathogens and Disease in Poultry

Location: Poultry Production and Product Safety Research

Title: Phytochemicals reduce aflatoxin-induced toxicity in chicken embryos

Author
item Yin, Hsin-bai - University Of Connecticut
item Chen, Chi-hung - University Of Connecticut
item Darre, Michael - University Of Connecticut
item Donoghue, Ann - Annie
item Donoghue, Dan - University Of Arkansas
item Venkitanarayanan, Kumar - University Of Connecticut

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/16/2017
Publication Date: 7/28/2017
Citation: Yin, H., Chen, C., Darre, M.J., Donoghue, A.M., Donoghue, D.J., Venkitanarayanan, K. 2017. Phytochemicals reduce aflatoxin-induced toxicity in chicken embryos. Poultry Science. 96:3725-3732. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps/pex190.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3382/ps/pex190

Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins (AF) are toxic metabolites produced by molds, which frequently contaminate poultry feed ingredients. Ingestion of AF-contaminated feed by chickens leads to deleterious effects, including decreased bird performance and reduced egg production. Moreover, AF residues in fertilized eggs result in huge economic losses by decreasing embryo viability and hatchability. This study investigated the efficacy of two generally recognized as safe phytochemicals, namely carvacrol (CR) and trans-cinnamaldehyde (TC), in protecting chicken embryo from AF-induced toxicity. The growth of embryos was improved in phytochemicals-treated embryos as against those injected with AF alone. Phytochemical and methanol treatments did not adversely affect embryo survival, and other measured parameters. Results from this study demonstrate that CR and TC could reduce AF-induced toxicity in chicken embryos; however, additional studies are warranted to delineate the mechanistic basis behind this effect.

Technical Abstract: Aflatoxins (AF) are toxic metabolites produced by molds, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which frequently contaminate poultry feed ingredients. Ingestion of AF-contaminated feed by chickens leads to deleterious effects, including decreased bird performance and reduced egg production. Moreover, AF residues in fertilized eggs result in huge economic losses by decreasing embryo viability and hatchability. This study investigated the efficacy of two generally recognized as safe phytochemicals, namely carvacrol (CR) and trans-cinnamaldehyde (TC), in protecting chicken embryo from AF-induced toxicity. Day-old embryonated eggs were injected with 50 ng or 75 ng AF with or without 0.1% CR or TC, followed by incubation in a hatching incubator for 18 days. Relative embryo weight, yolk sac weight, tibia weight, tibia length, and mortality were recorded on day 18 of incubation. The effect of phytochemicals and methanol (diluent) on embryo viability was also determined. The experiment had fifteen replicate samples of eggs, and was repeated three times. Both phytochemicals significantly decreased AF-induced toxicity in chicken embryos. At 75 ng of AF/egg, CR and TC increased the survival of chicken embryo by approximately 44% as compared to control. Moreover, CR and TC increased relative embryo weight by at least 3.3% and 17% when compared to eggs injected with 50 ng and 75 ng AF, respectively. The growth of embryos (tibia length and weight) was improved in phytochemicals-treated embryos as against those injected with AF alone (p<0.05). Phytochemical and methanol treatments did not adversely affect embryo survival, and other measured parameters (p>0.05). Results from this study demonstrate that CR and TC could reduce AF-induced toxicity in chicken embryos; however, additional studies are warranted to delineate the mechanistic basis behind this effect.