Effects of absorbents on growth performance, blood profiles and liver gene expression in broilers fed diets naturally contaminated with aflatoxin

  • Liu, J.B. (School of Life Science and Engineering, Southwest University of Science and Technology) ;
  • Yan, H.L. (School of Life Science and Engineering, Southwest University of Science and Technology) ;
  • Cao, S.C. (School of Life Science and Engineering, Southwest University of Science and Technology) ;
  • Hu, Y.D. (Farm Animal Genetic Resources Exploration and Innovation Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Sichuan Agricultural University) ;
  • Zhang, H.F. (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences)
  • Received : 2018.11.22
  • Accepted : 2019.04.20
  • Published : 2020.02.01


Objective: The study was conducted to evaluate the effects of the absorbent (a mixture of activated carbon and hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate) on growth performance, blood profiles and hepatic genes expression in broilers fed diets naturally contaminated with aflatoxin. Methods: A total of 1,200 one-day-old male chicks were randomly assigned to 6 treatments with 10 replicate cages per treatment. The dietary treatments were as follows: i) control (basal diets); ii) 50% contaminated corn; iii) 100% contaminated corn; iv) control+1% adsorbent; v) 50% contaminated corn+1% absorbent; vi) 100% contaminated corn+1% absorbent. Results: During d 1 to 21, feeding contaminated diets reduced (p<0.05) body weight (BW), average daily gain (ADG), and average daily feed intake (ADFI), but increased (p<0.05) feed-to-gain ratio (F/G). The absorbent supplementation increased (p<0.05) BW, ADG, and ADFI. There were interactions (p<0.05) in BW, ADG, and ADFI between contaminated corn and absorbent. Overall, birds fed 100% contaminated diets had lower (p<0.05) final BW and ADG, but higher (p<0.05) F/G compared to those fed control diets. The absorbent addition increased (p<0.05) serum albumin concentration on d 14 and 28 and total protein (TP) level on d 28, decreased (p<0.05) alanine transaminase activity on d 14 and activities of aspartate aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase on d 28. Feeding contaminated diets reduced (p<0.05) hepatic TP content on d 28 and 42. The contaminated diets upregulated (p<0.05) expression of interleukin-6, catalase (CAT), and superoxide dismutase (SOD), but downregulated (p<0.05) glutathione S-transferase (GST) expression in liver. The absorbent supplementation increased (p<0.05) interleukin-1β, CAT, SOD, cytochrome P450 1A1 and GST expression in liver. There were interactions (p<0.05) in the expression of hepatic CAT, SOD, and GST between contaminated corn and absorbent. Conclusion: The results suggest that the naturally aflatoxin-contaminated corn depressed growth performance, while the adsorbent could partially attenuate the adverse effects of aflatoxin on growth performance, blood profiles and hepatic genes expression in broilers.


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