Aflatoxin-contaminated feed cause mortality, suppression of the immune system, reduced growth rates and losses in feed efficiency. This research study was planned to investigate the immunomodulatory and growth promoting effect of milk thistle as feed additive against aflatoxin B1 in broiler chicks at NWFP Agricultural University Peshawar, Pakistan. Two hundred and forty (240) day old broilers chicks were randomly assigned into four major groups AfF, aflatoxin free feed; Aflatoxin B1 was present in the feed at the levels of 80-520 ??g/kg of the feed in the remaining three groups. Aflatoxin contaminated feed was provided for 5 weeks. Group AfB was supplemented with toxin binder ??Mycoad??at 3 g/kg of feed and group AfT was supplemented with milk thistle at10 g/kg of feed. Each group was further sub divided into two sub-groups, vaccinated against ND (Newcastle disease), IB (Infectious bronchitis) and IBD (Infectious bursal diseases) according to recommended schedule of vaccination or non vaccinated. Each sub group carried three replicates with 10 chicks per replicate. Chicks were reared in pens in an open sided house. Supplementary heat was provided to all the chicks during brooding period. Mean body weight gain and dressing percentage were significantly (p<0.05) higher in group AfF, followed by AfT, AfB and Af. Weight gain and dressing percentage was the same in group AfB and AfT, while it was significantly lower in group Af. Feed intake, breast, thigh and leg weight were found significantly (p<0.05) higher in group AfF, followed by AfB, AfT and Af.Significantly lower (better) FCR value was recorded in group AfT. Water intake was significantly (p<0.05) higher in group AfT and AfF as compared to other groups. Mortality was significantly (p<0.05) higher in group Af. Mean bursa and thymus weights were found significantly (p<0.05) higher in group AfF, AfB and AfT followed by Af, while higher spleen weight was recorded in group AfT. Mean antibody titer against ND, IB and IBD was significantly (p<0.05) higher in group AfT, as compared to other groups. It is concluded that milk thistle at 10 g/kg of feed could effectively be utilized as immunostimulant and growth promotant in the presence of immunosuppressant aflatoxin B1 in the feed.
Chand, N., Muhammad, D., Durrani, F. R., Qureshi, M., & Sahibzada, S. U. (2011). Protective Effects of Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) against Aflatoxin B1 in Broiler Chicks. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences, 24(7), 1011-1018. https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2011.10418