Performance and serum biochemical profile of Japanese quail supplemented with silymarin and contaminated with aflatoxin B1

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the hepatoprotective effect of silymarin in diets contaminated or not with aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) on the productive performance and serum biochemical profile of Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) in the laying phase. A total of 240 12-week-old Japanese quail was used in a completely randomized design in a 3 × 2 factorial scheme (additives x contaminated or not with AFB1 - 1,500 μg/kg), totaling 6 treatments and 5 replicates of 8 birds each. The additives used were silymarin (500 g/ton), adsorbent (1 kg/ton), and a control diet (without additive). Of the total aflatoxin content, 84.64% was AFB1; 4.28% was AFB2; 11.07% was AFG1; and AFG2 was not detected. The data were submitted to ANOVA, and means were compared by Tukey's test. There was no interaction (P > 0.05) between the additive and AFB1 on performance parameters. However, the inclusion of AF in diets reduced (P < 0.05) egg weight and feed intake, impairing feed conversion compared to the unchallenged groups. There was an increase (P < 0.05) in blood concentrations of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), and creatine kinase (CK) in birds challenged with AFB1, regardless of the additive used, characterizing a possible alteration in hepatic metabolism. Serum total protein and globulin levels were reduced (P < 0.05) in birds challenged with toxins. The consumption of diets contaminated with 1,500 μg AFB1/kg altered hepatic function in quail, impairing productive performance and egg weight. The concentrations of silymarin and adsorbent evaluated in this study were not able to mitigate the negative effect of toxins on the metabolism and performance of laying quail.

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