15 Jun Effects of mycotoxins on eggshell quality: interference with the metabolism of vitamin D
Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is the inactive form of vitamin D that is ingested through the diet. It is converted to the active form following a two step-process: the first step occurs in the liver, thanks to the enzyme 25-hydroxylase; the second step takes place in the kidneys, thanks to the enzyme 1α-hydroxylase. The resulting active form, called calcitriol or 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, is vital for bone health and eggshell quality, as it is involved in the absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in the gut and in the mineralization of bones.
Mycotoxins interfere with three fundamental stages of the metabolism of vitamin D:
- Aflatoxins impair vitamin D3 absorption in the intestine.
- Liver damage by mycotoxins (mainly aflatoxins, T-2 toxin and ochratoxin A) prevents cholecalciferol from going through the first activation step. In studies made with rats, the administration of DON, T-2 toxin or aflatoxin B1 decreased the activity of the enzyme enzyme 25-hydroxylase in hepatic tissue by 28-58%.
- Kidney damage by mycotoxins (mainly aflatoxins and ochratoxin A) interferes with the second activation step, aside from increasing the elimination of calcium through the urine and lowering the levels of plasmatic calcium.
Despite adequate levels of vitamin D3 in feeds, vitamin D deficiency is quite frequent, especially if feed is contaminated with mycotoxins; during intestinal, liver or kidney diseases; or in older hens.
When hens become vitamin D deficient, eggshell quality worsens in a couple of days, and the occurrence of thin-shelled, mottled, cracked and broken eggs increases. The laying rate decreases in two to three weeks. In severe cases, skeletal problems and feather picking may appear.
When we observe an increase in defective eggs and confirm that the feed is contaminated with mycotoxins, we can adopt a comprehensive solution:
- Administer an extra supplementation of vitamin D (PhytoMax©)
- Add a broad-spectrum mycotoxin binder to the feed (PlusBind©, BioShield©)
- Give phytogenics that restore liver health (PhytoMax©, BioShield©)
The best approach to manage mycotoxin risk is to implement an integrated strategy that includes good storing practices of the feedstuffs, and frequent mycotoxin analysis, as well as the regular use of a mycotoxin binder. We at PlusVet Animal Health help farms to set up a mycotoxin risk management program and to evaluate the risk posed by mycotoxin in their feedstuffs.
Products of choice
PhytoMax© is a combination of vitamins, chelated calcium, microminerals and essential oils to be given through drinking water. It is intended for layers and breeders to:
- Maintain the levels of calcium and magnesium needed for optimal egg production.
- Reinforce skeletal health.
- Prevent cage fatigue.
- Stimulate the hepatic metabolism and the immune system.
- Improve the quality of the egg and the health of day-old chicks.
- Avoid the drop of the laying rate produced by stress (management, vaccines, hot weather, etc…)
- At the start of the laying period, to boost productivity.
- Prolong the productive life of the hen.
- In birds at risk of liver diseases, such as fatty liver, toxins or infections.
- To counteract the negative effects of feeding with oxidized fats or feed contaminated with mycotoxins and heavy metals.
- Before, during or after periods of stress, such as heat stress, vaccination, stressful management practices, diseases, etc
- To improve the taste, color and shelf life of meat and eggs; to increase eggshell quality whenever eggshell defects are related to poor liver function.
- To improve sperm quality and hatchability in breeders.
- To enhance growth, productivity, and efficiency.
BioShield© is a complete solution that protects your animals against toxicity by mycotoxins. It includes:
- Broad spectrum mycotoxin protection (silicates with mycotoxin binding function)
- Phytogenics that preserve liver health, safeguard gut health and activate the immune system.
PlusBind© is a mixture of carefully selected silicates intended for the prevention of diseases and productivity losses related to the presence of all types of mycotoxins. It is indicated in poultry, pigs, aquaculture and ruminants.
The silicates present in PlusBind© have a highly expandable molecular structure. This characteristic gives the product a wide surface available for the adsorption of mycotoxins and therefore allows a high effectiveness at lower doses (0.5-1 kg per ton of feed).
PlusBind Bio© is a mixture of carefully selected silicates intended for the prevention of diseases and productivity losses related to the presence of all types of mycotoxins. It also contains plant extracts with prebiotic effect.
It is indicated in poultry, pigs and aquaculture.
The silicates present in PlusBind Bio© have a highly expandable molecular structure. This characteristic gives the product a wide surface available for the adsorption of mycotoxins and therefore allows a high effectiveness at lower doses (0.5-1 kg per ton of feed).
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