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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Edrington, Thomas
item Kubena, Leon
item Harvey, Roger
item Rottinghaus, George

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/31/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Mycotoxins are poisons produced by molds that can sometimes grow on grains and livestock or poultry feeds. Broiler chicks are sensitive to many mycotoxins and the consumption of mycotoxin-contaminated feed costs the broiler industry millions of dollars annually. In the present study, broiler chicks were fed diets containing aflatoxin (AF) or T-2 toxin. Super-activated charcoal (SAC) was fed simultaneously to try to counteract the toxicity of either toxin. Very little beneficial effect by SAC against AF or T-2 toxicity was seen. This is important because if SAC had worked, it could have saved the poultry industry millions of dollars. However, it is important to report this procedure was not effective because there was an existing, but misconceived notion that the procedure was effective. These data can help prevent further economic losses due to faulty management and production practices.

Technical Abstract: To evaluate the effectiveness of a super-activated charcoal (SAC) in alleviating mycotoxicosis, two experiments were conducted in which 432 male broiler chicks (216/exp.) were fed diets containing 4 mg aflatoxin (AF) or 6 mg T-2 toxin/kg of diet, with and without .5% SAC, from 1 to 21 days of age. Feeding AF and T-2 toxin significantly decreased body weight (BW) gain over the 21-d experimental period. Although, not restored 100%, feeding SAC+AF resulted in a 57 and 33% improvement in BW gains compared to feeding AF alone for Experiments I and II, respectively. No benefits were seen in BW gain when SAC + T-2 toxin was fed. Feeding AF increased relative weights of liver and kidney. Of the blood parameters altered by AF (decreased cholesterol, inorganic phosphorus, total protein, and urea nitrogen, and increased mean corpuscular volume and hematocrit in Exp. I; decreased albumin and total protein, and increased creatine kinase in Exp. II) only urea nitrogen, hematocrit, and inorganic phosphorus (Exp. I) and hematocrit (Exp. II) were comparable to controls when SAC was included in the diet. Feeding T-2 toxin decreased serum cholesterol, total protein, urea nitrogen, and mean corpuscular volume, however only cholesterol and mean corpuscular volume were improved with the addition of SAC (Exp. I). These findings suggest that the addition of dietary SAC can alleviate some of the toxic affects associated with AF but was of little benefit when T-2 toxin was fed to growing broiler chicks.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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