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Poult Sci. 1991 Nov;70(11):2275-9.

Measurement of malabsorption of carotenoids in chickens with pale-bird syndrome.

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Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-7608.


Because pale-bird syndrome (PBS), defined as the failure of birds to realize the color potential of their diet, has been demonstrated to be caused by malabsorption or by hyperexcretion of carotenoids, a method for measuring malabsorption of carotenoids would be useful. The absorption of dietary canthaxanthin, a red diketocarotenoid, into serum during aflatoxicosis was measured in an experiment with a 2 x 9 factorial arrangement of treatments (0 and 5 micrograms of aflatoxin/g of diet; serum collected at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 24 h after a standard meal fed to four groups of 10 3-wk-old birds). Serum canthaxanthin levels determined by HPLC attained plateau values between 8 and 14 h after the meal. The absorption of canthaxanthin was depressed significantly (P less than .05) in birds with aflatoxicosis from 4 to 24 h after feeding the standard meal. Four field flocks diagnosed as having PBS were tested for malabsorption by intubating 10 birds with a standard amount of canthaxanthin and measuring serum canthaxanthin 12 h later. One flock had about 85% normally pigmented birds and 15% extremely pale birds, the second flock had a coccidiosis history, the third had a Newcastle disease history, and the fourth had a history of both coccidiosis and Newcastle disease. The flocks were 5- to 6-wk-old, received feed of the same manufacture, and their disease outbreaks had occurred 2 wk earlier.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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