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Braunschweig, Germany

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. © 2016, Society for Mycotoxin Research and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Danicke S.,German Institute of Animal Nutrition
Toxins | Year: 2015

Hardened sclerotia (ergots) of Claviceps purpureacontaminate cereal grains and contain toxic ergot alkaloids (EA). Information on EA toxicity in ducks is scarce. Therefore, the aim of the growth experiment (Day 0–49, n= 54/group) was to titrate the lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) for total ergot alkaloids (TEA). A control diet was prepared without ergots, and the diets designated Ergot 1 to4 contained 1, 10, 15 and 20 g ergot per kg diet, respectively, corresponding to TEA contents of 0.0, 0.6, 7.0, 11.4 and 16.4 mg/kg. Sensitivity of ducks to EA was most pronounced at the beginning of the experiment when feed intake decreasedsignificantly by 9%, 28%, 41% and 47% in groups Ergot 1 to 4, respectively, compared to the control group. The experiment was terminated after two weeks for ducks exposed to Ergot 3 and 4 due to significant growth retardation. Ergot alkaloid residues in edible tissues werelower than 5 ng/g. Bile was tested positive for ergonovine (=ergometrine = ergobasine) with a mean concentration of 40 ng/g. Overall, the LOAEL amounted to 0.6 mg TA/kg diet suggesting that ducks are not protected by current European Union legislation (1 g ergot/kg unground cereal grains). © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Flachowsky G.,German Institute of Animal Nutrition
Animal Nutrition and Feed Technology | Year: 2010

High yielding plants with low external inputs should be the main aim of plant breeding in the future. Apart from traditional breeding, plant biotechnology seems to have a certain potential to contribute to this objective. The cultivation of genetically modified plants (GMP) increased worldwide from 1.7 (1996) to about 1125 million ha (2008). That means about 8% of arable land all over the world was cultivated by GMP in 2008. Nutritional and safety assessment of feed/food from GMP is urgently necessary. The results of the studies can be summarized as: Up to now about 800 million ha of GM-crops have been cultivated all over the world; Most animal studies were done with GM-crops of the 1 st generation (with input traits); No unintended effects in composition or contamination (except lower mycotoxins) and nutritional assessment of feeds from GM-crops of the 1 st generation were registered in more than 100 studies with food producing animals; Transgenic DNA and newly expressed protein did not show other properties as plant DNA or native proteins during feed treatment or in the animals. The following prospectives of GM-feed should be mentioned: Other experimental designs are recommended for nutritional and safety assessment of feeds from GM-crops of the 2 nd generation (with output traits); Furthermore, case by case studies seem to be necessary to answer open questions, more groups with isogenic counterparts should be included for nutritional and safety assessment; Feeding studies with food producing animals should also be used for safety assessment.

Flachowsky G.,German Institute of Animal Nutrition | Schafft H.,Federal Institute for Risk Assessment BfR | Meyer U.,German Institute of Animal Nutrition
Journal fur Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit | Year: 2012

In the future there will be a very strong competition between arable land use for phytogenic biomass production for feed/food, fuel, fibre and other industrial materials, as well as for settlements and natural conservation areas because of the growing population and limited natural resources. Therefore plants with high and stable yields, and requiring low external inputs (low input varieties) should be the main aim of plant breeding. In addition to traditional breeding, plant biotechnology seems to have the potential to contribute to this objective. Nutritional and safety studies with feed/food made from such modified plants are one of the most important prerequisite for public acceptance, and to improve knowledge in the feed/food sciences. The first step for the nutritional and safety assessment of such modified plants is the compositional analysis of potential feed/food, including the newly expressed proteins and other new constituents, and its comparison with conventional counterparts. In vitro studies and experiments with laboratory animals comprise the next steps of the assessment. About 70-90 % of the harvested biomass from genetically modified plants (GMPs) is consumed by food producing animals. Therefore, feeding studies with target animals are of special concern for nutritional assessment, and these are considered in more detail in the present paper. Up to now most studies have been done with GMPs of the 1st generation (plants with input traits, but without substantial changes in composition). Other experimental designs for nutritional and safety assessments are recommended for GMPs with output traits or with substantial changes in composition (plants of the 2nd generation). © 2012 Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL).

Flachowsky G.,German Institute of Animal Nutrition | Lebzien P.,German Institute of Animal Nutrition
Animal Feed Science and Technology | Year: 2012

Phytogenic substances such as plants, parts of plants and secondary products of herbal origin have gained attention in animal nutrition in recent years. More efficient feed conversion, improved animal health as well as reduced CH 4 emissions are important objectives for use of phytogenic substances in ruminant nutrition. A multi stage program is proposed for nutritional assessment and to study the influence of phytogenic substances on rumen fermentation, CH 4 emissions, animal health and performance, food safety and environmental impact. The program includes five stages being: (1) Botanical characterization of the plant(s) and their composition, (2) Analytical characterization of the active phytogenic substance(s), (3) In vitro studies to test effects of substances on rumen fermentation and methanogenesis (i.e., screening), (4) In vivo studies (e.g., feed intake, rumen fermentation, CH 4 emissions) and, (5) Long term feeding studies with target animal species/categories (e.g., animal health and performance, quality and safety of food of animal origin, environmental impact, adaptation of microbes). Details of the program and its potential importance are discussed. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

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