Toxic effects, metabolism, and carry-over of ergot alkaloids in laying hens, with a special focus on changes of the alkaloid isomeric ratio in feed caused by hydrothermal treatment
Ergot alkaloids (EA) are mycotoxins formed by Claviceps purpurea. Due to the large variation in EA content, the mass proportion of ergot (hardened sclerotia) in animal diets is not suited to establish safe levels of EA. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the dose-dependent effects of dietary EA on laying hens. Ergoty rye or ergot-free rye (control diet) was included in the diets either untreated or after hydrothermal treatment (“expansion”). The total EA levels in five different diets containing 0–3 % of untreated or expanded rye were 0.1–14.56 mg/kg (untreated rye) and 0.08–13.03 mg/kg (expanded rye). The average EA reduction amounted to 11 % due to expanding. The proportions of the sum of all -inine isomers however were consistently higher (19.5–48.4 %) compared to the sum of their -ine isomer counterparts which decreased at the same time. Most of the laying performance and reproductive traits were significantly compromised during the test period between weeks 22 and 42 of age when the diet with the highest EA content was fed. Toxic effects were less pronounced due to expanding. Relative weights of liver, proventriculus, and gizzard as well as the aspartate aminotransferase activity, the antibody titers to Newcastle disease virus, albumin, and total bilirubin concentrations were all significantly increased in hens fed at the highest dietary ergot level whereby expanding additionally modified the albumin and total bilirubin responses. No carry-over of EA into egg yolk and albumen, blood, liver, and breast muscle was found, but bile contained quantifiable levels of ergometrine and ergometrinine. Biological recovery of ingested individual alkaloids with the excreta varied from 2 to 22 % and was strongly positive linearly related to the octanol to water partition coefficient (logkOW). This suggests the lipophilicity of alkaloids as a factor influencing their metabolism and elimination. Based on the overall results of this study, a lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) of 14.56 mg EA/kg for laying hen diets can be proposed, while the no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) corresponds to a dietary EA level of 3.72 mg/kg. However, it must be stressed that these critical levels apply for the specific EA pattern tested in the present experiment, while batches of ergot containing a less typical alkaloid composition, or other expanding conditions, might contribute to variations in the LOAEL/NOAEL.
Dänicke, Sven: Toxic effects, metabolism, and carry-over of ergot alkaloids in laying hens, with a special focus on changes of the alkaloid isomeric ratio in feed caused by hydrothermal treatment. 2016.
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