The transfer of aflatoxin M1 in milk of ewes fed diet naturally contaminated by aflatoxins and effect of inclusion of dried yeast culture in the diet

J Dairy Sci. 2009 Oct;92(10):4997-5004. doi: 10.3168/jds.2008-1684.


An experiment was carried out to investigate 1) the transfer of aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) into the milk of dairy ewes fed diets naturally contaminated with aflatoxin B1 (AFB1); 2) the effect of the addition of dried yeast culture in the diet on this transfer; and 3) the alteration of enzymatic activities in the liver of ewes fed diets contaminated with AFB1. Twenty-four Sarda dairy ewes were divided in 4 groups and fed a concentrate mix containing 4 amounts of wheat meal naturally contaminated with aflatoxins. The diet of the control group had no wheat meal, whereas that of treated groups had low, medium, or high amounts of contaminated wheat, which corresponded to 1.13, 2.30, and 5.03 microg of AFB1/kg of feed, respectively. The experiment lasted 14 d. On d 8 to 14 from the beginning of the trial, 12 g/d of a commercial dried yeast product (DYP) of Kluyveromyces lactis was added to the diet of each ewe. The AFM1 concentration in individual milk samples and the blood serum metabolites were measured periodically. The presence of AFM1 was first detected in milk on d 1 of administration, and then its concentration increased and approached a steady-state condition on d 3 simultaneously in all treated groups. The AFM1 in milk at the steady-state condition, which was linearly related to the AFB1 intake, was 39.72, 50.38, and 79.29 ng/L in the low-aflatoxin, medium-aflatoxin, and high-aflatoxin groups, respectively. The AFM1 concentration in milk of the high-aflatoxin group was approximately 1.5-fold greater than the European Commission maximum tolerance level (50 ng/kg). The addition of DYP to the diet did not affect the AFM1 concentration in milk. After the withdrawal of the contaminated concentrate mix, the AFM1 mean concentrations decreased quickly and were no longer detected after 3 d in all treated groups. Daily milk yield and composition did not differ because of aflatoxin treatment. Blood serum parameters (creatinine, glutamic oxalacetic transaminase, glutamic pyruvic transaminase, gamma glutamyl transferase, alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase, cholesterol, protein, urea, calcium, and phosphorus) were not influenced by AFB1 intake. Therefore, the effect of DYP on certain blood parameters (gamma glutamyl transferase, urea, creatinine, and calcium) could not be attributed to amelioration of the aflatoxin-contaminated diet. In conclusion, diet contamination by AFB1 near the European Union tolerance level (0.005 mg/kg) in complete feed for dairy animals (e.g., high-aflatoxin group) can result in an AFM1 milk concentration higher than the European Commission maximum tolerance level. Transfer of aflatoxin from feed to milk was not affected by dietary addition of a commercial DYP.

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxin B1 / administration & dosage
  • Aflatoxin B1 / analysis
  • Aflatoxin M1 / analysis*
  • Aflatoxins / analysis
  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Kluyveromyces*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Sheep*


  • Aflatoxins
  • Aflatoxin M1
  • Aflatoxin B1