Deoxynivalenol in the Diet Impairs Bone Mineralization in Broiler Chickens

Toxins (Basel). 2019 Jun 18;11(6):352. doi: 10.3390/toxins11060352.


Deoxynivalenol (DON) is one of the most abundant and important trichothecene mycotoxins produced by Fusarium species. In chickens, DON intake causes feed refusal, impairs performance, gut barrier function, and immunity, and raises oxidative stress. To determine the effect of DON on bone mineralization and serum calcium and phosphorus, 80 newly-hatched chickens were fed 4 diets with 0, 2.5, 5, and 10 mg DON/kg feed in this pilot study. In week 5, chickens were euthanized, femur and tibiotarsus bones were separated from the meat, and after incineration ash composition, as well as serum calcium and phosphorus, were determined using clinical biochemistry. Dietary DON reduced chicken dry matter, calcium, and phosphorus intake, and subsequently body and leg weight. DON affected bone density and composition of the tibiotarsus more drastically than of the femur. However, lower mineral intake did not solely explain our observations of the quadratically lower tibiotarsus density and ash content, as well as linearly decreased Ca content in the femur and tibiotarsus with increasing DON levels. Linearly decreasing serum phosphorus concentrations with increasing DON levels further supported impaired mineral homeostasis due to DON. In conclusion, already low dietary DON contamination of 2.5 mg/kg feed can compromise bone mineralization in chickens.

Keywords: bone mineralization; broiler chicken; calcium; deoxynivalenol; phosphorus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / adverse effects*
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Calcification, Physiologic / drug effects*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Chickens
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Femur / metabolism
  • Food Contamination* / analysis
  • Phosphorus / blood
  • Phosphorus / metabolism
  • Trichothecenes / analysis
  • Trichothecenes / toxicity*


  • Trichothecenes
  • Phosphorus
  • deoxynivalenol
  • Calcium