Effect of a Commercial Bentonite Clay (Smectite Clay) on Dairy Cows Fed Aflatoxin-Contaminated Feed

Dairy 2020, 1(2), 135-153

Open Access
G. Rocchetti, F. Piccioli Cappelli, S. Pavone, A. Mulazzi, S. van Kuijk, Y. Han, and E. Trevisi

by A. Gallo
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We evaluated the impact of dietary supplementation with a commercially available smectite clay (TOXO® MX, Trouw Nutrition, Amersfoort, The Netherlands), that binds to aflatoxins (AFs), on the performance and health status of multiparous lactating Holstein dairy cows that received dietary AFB1 (the main AF). The carry-over of AFB1 was determined by measuring AFM1 (the main metabolite) in dairy milk. Performance values, blood markers, and liver inflammatory markers were also measured. Nine multiparous mid-lactation Holstein cows (parity: 2.67 ± 0.86; days in milk: 91 ± 15 days; milk yield: 40.4 ± 2.7 kg/cow/day) were assigned to one of three treatments in a 3 periods × 3 treatments Latin square design (n = 3). In particular, three cows each received the CTR-0 diet (total mixed ration (TMR) with normal corn meals), the CTR-AFLA diet (CTR-0 diet with 17.53 ± 6.55 µg/kg DM AFBI), or the TRT diet (CTR-AFLA diet with 100 ± 1 g/cow/day of smectite clay). The AFB1 level was 0.63 ± 0.50 µg/kg DM in the CTR-0 diet, 2.28 ± 1.42 µg/kg DM in the CTR-AFLA diet, and 2.13 ± 1.11 µg/kg DM in the TRT diet. The experiment consisted of an adaptation period (21 days) and three 17-day experimental periods, each consisting of a 10-day intoxication period and 7-day clearance period. Data were analyzed using the MIXED procedure of SAS (SAS Inst. Inc., Cary, NC, USA) with or without repeated measurements. Overall, the addition of AFB1 reduced the DM intake, but the groups had no significant differences in milk yields. The highest feed efficiency was in the TRT group. Measurement of AFM1 in milk indicated a “plateau” period, from day 4 to day 10 of the intoxication period, when the AFM1 level exceeded the guidelines of the European Union. The commercial smectite clay reduced milk AFM1 concentration by 64.8% and reduced the carry-over by 47.0%. The CTR-0 and TRT groups had similar carry-over levels of AFM1, although the absolute concentrations differed. The groups had no significant differences in plasma biomarkers. These results indicate that the commercially available smectite clay tested here was effective in adsorbing AFs in the gastro-intestinal tracts of cows, thus reducing the excretion of AFM1 into dairy milk.