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MYCOTOXINS ▶▶▶


Efficacy of berberine against mycotoxins in broiler diets


A new study published in Poultry Science found that berberine, a plant alkaloid, reduces the toxic effects of aflatoxins and ochratoxins in broiler diets.


BY MATTHEW WEDZERAI, FREELANCE JOURNALIST A


standard method used to control mycotoxins is the use of non–nutritive absorbing materials in the diet that bind the mycotoxins and reduce their uptake from the GIT. Several such binding com-


pounds have been used with success. On the other hand, there is increasing emphasis on the use of plant extracts to reduce the toxic effects of mycotoxins. Berberine is a plant al- kaloid with a long history of use in traditional Chinese and In- dian medicine. This alkaloid is found in the roots, rhizomes, and shoots of many plants, including Coptis chinesis and Ber- beris vulgaris. Among other activities, berberine has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


The study In this study, published in Poultry Science (2021), researchers induced experimental aflatoxicosis and ochratoxicosis by contaminating broiler feed with aflatoxins and ochratoxins to determine the efficacy of different levels of the plant alkaloid ‘berberine’ in reducing the effects of acute aflatoxicosis and ochratoxicosis on performance, antioxidant status, liver function, and gut function in broilers. A total of 288-day-old chicks were used in this study, both mycotoxins were included at 2 ppm and the study consisted of nine dietary groups as follows: • NC: Negative control (no mycotoxin, no additives) • AFB: NC + AFB (Aflatoxin; 2 ppm) • OTA: NC + OTA (Ochratoxin; 2 ppm) • AFB + BBR: NC + AFB + BBR (Berberine at three levels: 200 mg, 400 mg & 600 mg/kg)


Table 1 – Effect of dietary aflatoxin B1 (AFB) or ochratoxin A (OTA) contamination with or with- out berberine (BBR) supplementation on aver- age daily feed intake (ADFI; g/bird/d), average daily gain (ADG; g/bird/d) and FCR, day 1 to 42.


Treatment


Negative Control AFB OTA


AFB + 200 BBR AFB + 400 BBR AFB + 600 BBR OTA + 200 BBR OTA + 400 BBR OTA + 600 BBR


ADFI


101.42 56.72 52.53 76.87 84.64 93.32 74.58 81.29 90.57


ADG


53.22 27.89 25.29 36.97 41.44 48.00 33.65 36.72 43.93


FCR 1.90 2.03 2.07 2.07 2.04 1.94 2.21 2.21 2.06


• OTA + BBR: NC + OTA + BBR (Berberine at three levels: 200 mg, 400 mg & 600 mg/kg)


Performance The study showed that there was a reduction in feed intake and weight gain, and high FCR in the diets fed with myco- toxins (Table 1) The FCR of chicks fed the NC diet was signifi- cantly lower compared to the FCR of chicks fed positive control diets contaminated with AFB and OTA. All the per- formance parameters were improved with the addition of berberine, in a dose-dependent manner. Mortality was also reduced by the addition of berberine. The reduction in per- formance was attributed to the mycotoxins’ inhibitory ef- fects on secretion of digestive enzymes (damage to the di- gestive tract and liver), leading to impaired nutrient absorption and utilisation. It was observed that berberine minimises the impact of mycotoxins through various mech- anisms. For example, activation of B-cell lymphoma 2 family of conserved proteins, which inhibit mitochondrial permea- bility and release of apoptosis proteins from the mitochon- dria, ultimately inhibiting apoptosis or necrosis. The im-


▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 29, No. 5/6, 2021 19


Mortality (%) 3.15


11.15 9.64 6.20 5.19 3.15 5.18 4.52 4.16


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