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Animal Health

Aflatoxins Challenges in Animals and the Solution

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Aflatoxins can be found worldwide in a variety of food and feed commodities especially cereals; the contamination with aflatoxin-producing fungi such as Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus and the production of this toxin in the products can occur in the field, during storage, transportation and at almost all stages of the production chain. Apart from their toxicological effects in affected animals, the carry-over impacts through animal derived products, such as meat, milk and eggs into the human food chains are important considerations when trying to contain the spread of aflatoxins contamination. FAO has estimated that up to 25% of the world’s food crops and a higher percentage of the world’s animal feedstuffs are significantly contaminated by aflatoxins.


 Aflatoxin is generated by mycotoxins and it is causing a big loss to the animal farms as it increases the management cost and farm losses. Research during the past five decades had explored the negative effects of aflatoxins on the overall health of poultry and studies have shown that it can sometimes cause disease outbreaks to occur such as Aflatoxicosis. These claims show that it has bad effects on both broilers and layers. For example, in broilers, Aflatoxicosis causes negative impacts to the immune systems, performances and gastrointestinal tracts, causes a decline in egg production in layers and may results to reduced hatching rates. Aflatoxins generally affects the overall health of poultry herd because it leaves a residue in tissues and organs at different levels and may result in acute or chronic effects not just to the birds but also to human health. Human consumption of the infected tissues and organs may cause complicated issues for human as it may contain toxigenic and carcinogenic proprieties.


The effects of feeding diets containing aflatoxins to pigs on the other hand, depends on both the age of the pig and the concentration of the toxin. Short‐term, low level exposure may have minimal effects such as reductions in feed intake and immune suppression. However, feeding aflatoxins at high levels or longer period of time can cause the toxins to build up in body tissues and can result in increased mortality.


In aquaculture, if fishes, for example, are exposed to highly contaminated feeds, this may result in acute aflatoxicosis among fishes which are typically characterized by pale gills, impaired blood clotting, anaemia, poor growth rates and death. Chronic exposures through prolonged feeding of lower aflatoxin concentrations can also cause tumours in livers and kidneys of the fishes. The presence of aflatoxin B1 also reduces shrimp growth; decreases blood cells, making shrimp more vulnerable to pathogens; causes declines in lipid deposit by the hepatopancreas cells and reduction of the survival rates. 


Cattle can also be exposed to aflatoxin through corn grain, corn silage, and corn processing by-products. The effects of aflatoxin in cattle vary based on the species, age of the animal, and amount of aflatoxin ingested. In general, younger stock are more susceptible and can ingest aflatoxin as it is passed through milk. The effects include reduced feed efficiency, growth retardations and could even result in fatalities among young cattle. For lactating cattle, the contaminant level of aflatoxin in feed becomes unacceptable at 100 ppb (FDA, 2016). Health effects observed in these animals include decreased milk production and feed intake. Previous research indicated that higher producing cows and cows with mastitis excreted more aflatoxin in milk.  The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) limits the amount of aflatoxin in milk to 0.5 parts per billion (ppb) and to 20 ppb in other foods for human consumption. 

In countering the potential negative impacts of Aflatoxins contamination, ZAGRO offers a reliable solution using ZAGRIBIND. ZAGRIBIND is a tri-layered hydrous alumina silicate with extremely consistent levels of sodium and calcium and its virtuous mycotoxin binder.  ZAGRIBIND meets high quality standards as it has undergone stringent manufacturing processes designed to optimize the cation exchange capacity of the clay of hydrated sodium calcium alumino silicates which indicate that they alleviate the deleterious effects of certain mycotoxins by sequestration of the toxin through chemisorption. ZAGRIBIND invitro binding efficacy is tested in recognized 3rd party USA Lab and the test results showed proven efficacy against aflatoxin and its binding rate of 99%. ZAGRIBIND have excellent binding activity on aflatoxins, thereby preventing aflatoxins absorption by the gastrointestinal track of different animal species.



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