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Poult Sci. 2002 Nov;81(11):1671-80.

Effect of addition of a detoxifying agent to laying hen diets containing uncontaminated or Fusarium toxin-contaminated maize on performance of hens and on carryover of zearalenone.

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  • 1Institute of Animal Nutrition, Federal Agricultural Research Centre, Braunschweig (FAL), Bundesallee 50, D-38116 Braunschweig, Germany.


16-wk experiment with laying hens was carried out to examine the effects of feeding of mycotoxin-contaminated maize (CM) on performance, nutrient digestibility, weight of organs, serum chemical parameters, and antibody titers to Newcastle disease virus (NDV) in serum. Also tested were fimbrien antigen K88 in egg yolk and zearalenone (ZON) residues in eggs and tissues. The Fusarium-toxin-contaminated maize contained 17,630 microg deoxynivalenol and 1,580 microg ZON/kg. Moreover, Mycofix Plus (MP), a so-called detoxifying agent, was added to both the uncontaminated control (UCM) and to the CM diet (70% dietary maize inclusion). Each of the four resulting diets (UCM, UCM-MP, CM, CM-MP) was tested on 25 laying hybrids (Lohmann Brown). Feeding of the CM diets significantly depressed feed intake compared to the control groups by approximately 5%. This was mainly due to the effects observed at the beginning of the experiment. Daily egg mass production/hen was 56.6, 58.4, 53.9, and 55.2 g in groups UCM, UCM-MP, CM and CM-MP, respectively. Nutrient digestibility and metabolizability of gross energy were slightly depressed by feeding the CM diets and improved by MP addition. Feeding of the CM diets resulted in a significant decrease in serum titers to NDV and to an increase in yolk titers to antigen K88. No residues of ZON or of its metabolites were found in yolk, albumen, abdominal fat, breast meat, follicles greater than 1 cm in diameter, ovaries including follicles smaller than 1 cm in diameter, magnum, and serum. ZON and alpha-zearalenol (alpha-ZOL) were detected in livers of hens fed the CM diets at mean concentrations of 2.1 and 3.7 microg/kg, respectively. It was concluded that feeding maize which was highly contaminated with Fusarium mycotoxins adversely influenced performance of hens and modulated immune response. At the given level of zearalenone and at the indicated detection limits, no residues of ZON and its metabolites were found in eggs. The effects of the tested detoxifying agent were quite mycotoxin-independent.

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