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Toxins (Basel). 2013 Sep 16;5(9):1555-73. doi: 10.3390/toxins5091555.

The effect of aflatoxin-B1 on red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) and assessment of dietary supplementation of NovaSil for the prevention of aflatoxicosis.

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College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, TAMU 4458, College Station, TX 77843, USA.


Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a potent carcinogen that causes growth stunting, immunosuppression and liver cancer in multiple species. The recent trend of replacing fishmeal with plant-based proteins in fish feed has amplified the AFB1 exposure risk in farm-raised fish. NovaSil (NS), a calcium montmorillonite clay, has previously been shown to reduce AFB1 bioavailability safely and efficaciously in several mammalian species. This study was designed to: (1) evaluate AFB1 impact on cultured red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus, over the course of seven weeks; and (2) assess NS supplementation as a strategy to prevent aflatoxicosis. Fish were fed diets containing 0, 0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, or 5 ppm AFB1. Two additional treatment groups were fed either 5 ppm AFB1 + 1% NS or 5 ppm AFB1 + 2% NS. Aflatoxin B1 negatively impacted red drum weight gain, survival, feed efficiency, serum lysozyme concentration, hepatosomatic index (HSI), whole-body lipid levels, liver histopathological scoring, as well as trypsin inhibition. NovaSil inclusion in AFB1-contaminated diets improved weight gain, feed efficiency, serum lysozyme concentration, muscle somatic index, and intraperitoneal fat ratios compared to AFB1-treated fish. Although not significant, NS reduced AFB1-induced histopathological changes in the liver and decreased Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) staining. Importantly, NS supplementation improved overall health of AFB1-exposed red drum.

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