In Vivo Kinetics and Biotransformation of Aflatoxin B1 in Dairy Cows Based on the Establishment of a Reliable UHPLC-MS/MS Method

Front Chem. 2021 Dec 24:9:809480. doi: 10.3389/fchem.2021.809480. eCollection 2021.


The in vivo kinetics of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and its carry-over as aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) in milk as well as the toxin loads in the tissue of dairy cows were assessed through a repetitive feeding trial of an AFB1-contaminated diet of 4 μg kg-1 body weight (b.w.) for 13 days. This was followed by a clearance period that ended with a single dose trial of an AFB1-contaminated diet of 40 μg kg-1 b.w. An ultra-high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method was developed and successfully validated by the determination of linearity (R 2 ≥ 0.990), sensitivity (lower limit of quantification, 0.1-0.2 ng ml-1), recovery (79.5-111.2%), and precision relative standard deviation (RSD) ≤14.7%) in plasma, milk, and various tissues. The repetitive ingestion of AFB1 indicated that the biotransformation of AFB1 to AFM1 occurred within 48 h, and the clearance period of AFM1 in milk was not more than 2 days. The carry-over rate of AFM1 in milk during the continuous ingestion experiment was in the range of 1.15-2.30% at a steady state. The in vivo kinetic results indicated that AFB1 reached a maximum concentration of 3.8 ± 0.9 ng ml-1 within 35.0 ± 10.2 min and was slowly eliminated from the plasma, with a half-life time (T1/2) of 931.1 ± 30.8 min. Meanwhile, AFM1 reached a plateau in plasma (0.5 ± 0.1 ng ml-1) at 4 h after the ingestion. AFB1 was found in the heart, spleen, lungs, and kidneys at concentrations of 1.6 ± 0.3, 4.1 ± 1.2, 3.3 ± 0.9 and 5.6 ± 1.4 μg kg-1, respectively. AFM1 was observed in the spleen and kidneys at concentrations of only 0.7 ± 0.2 and 0.8 ± 0.1 μg kg-1, respectively. In conclusion, the in vivo kinetics and biotransformation of AFB1 in dairy cows were determined using the developed UHPLC-MS/MS method, and the present findings could be helpful in assessing the health risks to consumers.

Keywords: UHPLC-MS/MS; aflatoxins; biotransformation; dairy cow; in vivo kinetics.