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HEAL ▶▶▶TH


Understanding gut health and mycotoxin interaction


Although mycotoxins are an unavoidable problem and can have a detrimental effect on gut health and the microbiome, some key management practices can help reduce the risk of such occurrences. Alltech believes that effective mycotoxin management is about seeing the whole challenge, from the farm to the feed mill and from risk assessment to feed management.


BY RADKA BORUTOVA AND ALEXANDRA WEAVER, ALLTECH T 18


he gastrointestinal tract represents the first barrier against ingested chemicals, feed contaminants and natural toxins. Following ingestion of mycotoxin- contaminated feed, intestinal epithelial cells can be


exposed to high concentrations of toxins. This is especially important when considering toxins with poor intestinal ab- sorption, such as fumonisin B1. The biological actions of my- cotoxins can cause direct intestinal damage. Trichothecenes affect actively dividing cells, such as those lining the gastroin- testinal tract. They directly affect protein synthesis in eukary- otic cells due to the interaction with the ribosomal units, pre- venting either initiation of protein synthesis or elongation of the polypeptidic chains (Ueno, 1984). It should be noted that the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is also sensitive to trichoth- ecene-induced apoptosis, affecting mainly the gastric muco- sa, gastric granular epithelium and intestinal crypt cell epi- thelium. The toxic action of trichothecenes results in extensive necrosis of oral mucosa and gizzard lesions. The T-2 toxin inhibits DNA, RNA and protein synthesis in eukaryotic cells, affecting the cell cycle and inducing apoptosis both in vivo and in vitro. It should also be mentioned that the primary effect of T-2 toxin occurs through contact with the mouth epithelium (beak cavity and tongue).


▶ POULTRY WORLD | No. 3, 2021


Direct impact of mycotoxins on the gastrointestinal barrier Another important effect of some mycotoxins, such as FB1 and ochratoxins A (OTA), is that they alter the barrier func- tion of the intestinal epithelium which is measured as a de- crease in the transepithelial electrical resistance. It is likely that the environment surrounding the tight junctions is somehow altered by continuous exposure to FB1. Poults fed grains naturally contaminated with Fusarium mycotoxins showed decreased villus height in the duodenum and de- creased villus height and villus surface in the jejunum dur- ing the starter period. In turkeys fed the same diet contami- nated with Fusarium mycotoxins, the width and villus surface of the duodenum, villus height and surface of the jejunum and submucosal thickness of the ileum decreased during the grower phase. Broilers fed diets contaminated with 0.5mg deoxynivalenol (DON)/kg had shorter and thin- ner villi which resulted in lighter small intestines compared to birds fed control diets.


PHOTO: HANS PRINSEN


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