Written and submitted by Rubina Yasmeen, Prof. Dr. Abu Saeed Hashmi
Department of Biochemistry University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore
Nature provides poultry crop with the microbes that have the potential to detoxify aflatoxins. Aflatoxin is a toxic molecule produced by a fungus Aspergillus. This fungus is prominent in Pakistan’s environmental conditions. It grows on cereals, grains, spices and animal feed. Aflatoxin contaminated feed, consumed by birds, animals, and human, causes Aflatoxicosis. The toxin in the affected host decreases growth, production, and immunogenicity of the vaccines, and causes liver damage, cancer, and even death. Residues of the toxin are found in an egg, meat, and milk of affected poultry/animals.
Lactobacilli are bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract of birds, animals, fermented food and milk. The probiotics improve animal health by enhancing digestion of food, controlling ammonia level in poultry houses and decreasing level of intestinal pathogenic bacteria. They can detoxify aflatoxin in stored food, aqueous medium or ingested food. In the present study, research was conducted at the Department of Biochemistry, the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore. Lactobacillus was isolated from broiler’s gut and identified by biochemical and molecular methods. They were tested for their ability to detoxify Aflatoxin.
Detoxification potential of Lactobacillus of broiler origin against aflatoxin was observed in broilers and compared with that of the yeast cell and hydrated aluminosilicate based commercial toxin binders. The Lactobacillus detoxified aflatoxin more effectively and improved broiler’s health better than that of commercially available mycotoxin binders.
Commercially available selective medium and milk for the growth of the bacteria is expensive. An alternative medium composed of industrial waste for growth of the bacteria was therefore optimized. The medium contains fermented whey powder (industrial waste from cheese industry and an easily available source of milk protein), corn steep liquor and yeast sludge (source of minerals, proteins, and vitamins). The fermented whey medium supplemented with corn steep liquor, yeast sludge and glucose has proven to be optimum for maximum growth of Lactobacillus. It is better and cost effective as compared to commercially available selective and enrichment medium.
It is interesting to know that nature has provided Lactobacillus as normal flora in the crop, small intestine, and caecum of the healthy broilers. The bacteria can be added in poultry feed/drinking water by growing in whey powder medium supplemented with glucose and industrial waste such as yeast sludge, and corn steep liquor. The bacteria inactivate urease producing bacteria and may also act as toxin binder and toxin hydrolyzer in feed, intestine or in droppings of the poultry.