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Distribution of aflatoxigenic Aspergillus section Flavi in commercial poultry feed in Nigeria

Ezekiel, C.N., Atehnkeng, J., Odebode, A.C., Bandyopadhyay, R.
International journal of food microbiology 2014 v.189 pp. 18-25
Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus, Aspergillus tamarii, aflatoxin B1, agroecological zones, chicks, corn, feeds, fungi, markets, mash, poultry, poultry industry, Nigeria
The distribution and aflatoxigenicity of Aspergillus section Flavi isolates in 58 commercial poultry feed samples obtained from 17 states in five agro-ecological zones (AEZs) in Nigeria were determined in order to assess the safety of the feeds with respect to aflatoxin-producing fungi. Correlation was also performed for incidence of species, aflatoxin-producing ability of isolates in vitro, and aflatoxin (AFB1) concentrations in the feed. A total of 1006 Aspergillus section Flavi isolates were obtained from 87.9% of the feed samples and identified as Aspergillus flavus, unnamed taxon SBG, Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus tamarii. A. flavus was the most prevalent (91.8%) of the isolates obtained from the feed in the AEZs while A. parasiticus had the lowest incidence (0.1%) and was isolated only from a layer mash sample collected from the DS zone. About 29% of the Aspergillus isolates produced aflatoxins in maize grains at concentrations up to 440,500μg/kg B and 341,000μg/kgG aflatoxins. The incidence of toxigenic isolates was highest (44.4%) in chick mash and lowest (19.9%) in grower mash. The population of A. flavus in the feed had positive (r=0.50) but non significant (p>0.05) correlations with proportion of toxigenic isolates obtained from the feed while SBG had significant (p<0.001) positive (r=0.99) influence on AFB1 concentrations in the feed. Poultry feed in Nigerian markets are therefore highly contaminated with aflatoxigenic Aspergillus species and consequently, aflatoxins. This is a potential threat to the poultry industry and requires urgent intervention.