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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2014

Authors: Ghareeb, K; Awad, WA; Sid-Ahmed, OE; Böhm, J

Title: Insights on the host stress, fear and growth responses to the deoxynivalenol feed contaminant in broiler chickens.

Source: PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e87727

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Awad Wageha
Böhm Josef
Ghareeb Khaled
Sid Ahmed Omer Elfaroug

Vetmed Research Units
University Clinic for Poultry and Fish Medicine, Clinical Unit of Poultry Medicine
Institute of Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds
Institute of Physiology, Pathohysiology and Biophysics, Unit of Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Experimental Endocrinology

Mycotoxins pose an important danger to human and animal health. Poultry feeds are frequently contaminated with deoxynivalenol (DON) mycotoxin. It is thus of great importance to evaluate the effects of DON on the welfare related parameters in poultry industry. In the present study, the effects of contamination of broiler diet with 10 mg DON/kg feed on plasma corticosterone and heterophil to lymphocyte (H/L) ratio as indicators of stress, tonic immobility duration as an index for fear response and growth performance of broiler chickens were studied. In addition, the effect of a microbial feed additive either alone or in combination with DON contamination on these different aspects was also evaluated. The results showed that DON feeding significantly affected the welfare related parameters of broiler chickens. The feeding of DON contaminated diet resulted in an elevation of plasma corticosterone, higher H/L ratio and increased the fear levels as indicated by longer duration of tonic immobility reaction. Furthermore, DON reduced the body weight and body weight gain during the starter phase definitely at the second and third week. However, during grower phase, feeding of DON decreased the body weight at the fourth week and reduced the body gain at the fifth week. Addition of the microbial feed additive, a commercial antidote for DON mycotoxin, was able to overcome DON effects on stress index (H/L ratio), fearfulness and growth parameters of broilers. In conclusion, we showed for the first time that the DON feeding increased the underlying fearfulness and physiological stress responses of broilers and resulted in a reduction in the welfare status as indicated by higher plasma corticosterone, higher H/L ratio and higher fearfulness. Additionally, feeding the microbial feed additive was effective in reducing the adverse effects of DON on the bird"s welfare and can improve the performance of broiler chickens.

Keywords Pubmed: Animal Feed/adverse effects*
Body Weight/physiology
Chickens/growth & development*
Diet/adverse effects
Food Contamination/analysis*
Mycotoxins/adverse effects
Stress, Physiological/physiology*
Trichothecenes/adverse effects*
Weight Gain/physiology

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