Research has shown success using clay-based binders to adsorb aflatoxin in animal feeds; however, no adsorbent has been approved for the prevention or treatment of aflatoxicosis. In this study, growth and relative organ weights were evaluated along with a residue analysis for aflatoxin B₁ in liver tissue collected from broiler chickens consuming dietary aflatoxin (0, 600, 1200, and 1800 µg/kg) both with and without 0.2% of a calcium bentonite clay additive (TX4). After one week, only the combined measure of a broiler productivity index was significantly affected by 1800 µg/kg aflatoxin. However, once birds had consumed treatment diets for two weeks, body weights and relative kidney weights were affected by the lowest concentration. Then, during the third week, body weights, feed conversion, and the productivity index were affected by the 600 µg/kg level. Results also showed that 0.2% TX4 was effective at reducing the accumulation of aflatoxin B₁ residues in the liver and improving livability in birds fed aflatoxin. The time required to clear all residues from the liver was less than one week. With evidence that the liver's ability to process aflatoxin becomes relatively efficient within three weeks, this would imply that an alternative strategy for handling aflatoxin contamination in feed could be to allow a short, punctuated exposure to a higher level, so long as that exposure is followed by at least a week of a withdrawal period on a clean diet free of aflatoxin.
Keywords: adsorbent; aflatoxin; bentonite; chicken; liver; residue.