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Journal of Immunology and Immunopathology
Year : 2007, Volume : 9, Issue : 1 and 2
First page : ( 1) Last page : ( 15)
Print ISSN : 0972-0561.

Aflatoxins-hazard to livestock and poultry production: A review

Dhama K, Chauhan R S1,*, Mahendran Mahesh, Singh KP1, Telang AG1, Singhal Lokesh1, Tomar Simmi2

Division of Pathology, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243122 (UP), INDIA.

1CADRAD, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243122 (UP), INDIA.

2Division of Animal Sciences, Central Agricultural Research Institute(CARI), Port Blair, A&N Islands, INDIA.

*E-mail: rschauhan_123@rediffmail.com


Aflatoxins are known to be the most dangerous fungal toxins that cause detrimental effects on animal and avian health. They are hepatotoxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic compounds produced mainly by Aspergillus species, which are more prevalent in tropical regions. Among the toxins, aflatoxin B1 is considered as the most potent hepatotoxic agent. Acute and chronic aflatoxicoses in animals and birds occur due to consumption of aflatoxin contaminated feed, leading to serious pathological and immune insufficiencies. Humoral and cellular immune functions are impaired, and the primary and secondary immune responses are also affected. Aflatoxicosis in animals result in decreased feed utilization and reduced productivity. In avian species, immunosuppression, reduced growth and low productivity are commonly seen. For detection of aflatoxins, chromatographic techniques like TLC and HPLC are commonly used apart from immunochemical detection and affinity based analysis. Recently, detection of toxins and toxigenic fungi are performed using biosensors and polymerase chain reaction, respectively. One of the effective measures to be adopted to protect the livestock from aflatoxin exposure is to establish proper surveillance system and also formulate regulatory levels as these may enable to reduce the incidence of aflatoxicoses. As a prevention strategy, the most commonly followed method is the detoxification by toxin binding agents or chemical inactivation. This review is an attempt to highlight the pathological and immunological impairments that the aflatoxins render to livestock and poultry and to make familiarize the various strategies to detect, prevent and control the malady.


Key words

Aflatoxins, aspergillus, carcinogenesis, detoxification, immunosuppression, mycotoxins, poultry, ruminants.


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