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The effects of aflatoxins on animals

Aflatoxins, highly toxic compounds produced by species of Aspergillus Flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, are known carcinogens that are also associated with immunosuppression, stunting, and retardation in humans. These toxic compounds not only affect humans through consumption of contaminated food but also affect livestock. Dr. Oladele Dotun, a Veterinarian at the Animal Care Laboratory in Nigeria, presented his laboratory’s findings on the effects of aflatoxins on animals during the ECOWAS workshop in Accra, Ghana. According to Dr. Oladele, research has shown that aflatoxins cause infertility, abortions, and delayed onset of egg production in birds as well as sudden losses in egg production in actively laying birds. Furthermore, loss of appetite, skin discoloration or even yellowish pigmentation on skin can be observed in fish. Dr. Oladele emphasized the negative impact and massive losses encountered by farmers due to mortalities, egg production losses, delayed weight gain in birds and fish. In order to reduce the impact of aflatoxins on humans and animals, Dr. Oladele recommends that producers should ensure minimal contamination with toxigenic strains at pre- and post-harvest levels by applying a biocontrol product: Aflasafe®. Aflasafe® reduces aflatoxins significantly. Dr. Oladele also recommends training of farmers on proper drying methods as well as good farming practices.