Safety evaluation of zinc methionine in laying hens: Effects on laying performance, clinical blood parameters, organ development, and histopathology

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The study was conducted to investigate whether high-dose zinc methionine (Zn-Met) affected the safety of laying hens, including laying performance, hematological parameters, serum chemical parameters, organ index, and histopathology. A total of 540 20-week-old Hy-Line White laying hens was randomly allocated to 6 groups with 6 replicates of 15 birds each. Birds were fed diets supplemented with 0 (control), 70, 140, 350, 700, or 1,400 mg Zn/kg diet as Zn-Met. The experiment lasted for 8 wk after a 2-week acclimation period. Results showed that dietary supplementation with 70 or 140 mg Zn/kg diet as Zn-Met significantly increased average daily egg mass (ADEM), laying rate (LR), and feed conversion ratio (FCR) (P < 0.05) and lowered broken and soft-shelled egg ratio (BSER) (P < 0.05) in comparison with the control group; no significant differences were detected among hens fed with 0, 350, or 700 mg Zn/kg as Zn-Met (P > 0.05); hens administered 1,400 mg Zn/kg showed a significant increase in BSER and remarkable decreases in ADEM, LR, and FCR (P < 0.001). There were no significant differences among hens receiving 0, 70, 140, 350, or 700 mg Zn/kg as Zn-Met in serum chemical parameters (P > 0.05); supplementation with 1,400 mg Zn/kg as Zn-Met remarkably elevated the concentrations of serum total bilirubin (TBILI), glucose (GLU), uric acid (UA), and creatinine (CRE) (P < 0.001), and enhanced activities of serum glutamic oxalacetic transaminase (GOP) and alkaline phosphatase (AKP) (P < 0.001) compared with the control group. No significant histopathological changes were found in hens administered 0, 70, 140, 350, or 700 mg Zn/kg as Zn-Met, while significant histological lesions were observed in the heart, liver, lung, and kidney tissues of hens receiving 1,400 mg Zn/kg as Zn-Met. No significant differences were detected in hematological parameters or organ index (P > 0.05). In conclusion, a nominal Zn concentration of 700 mg/kg as Zn-Met is considered to be no-observed-adverse-effect level following daily administration to hens for 56 days.

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