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Introduction: Animal health and productivity can be affected by Aflatoxin in feeds, which leads to reduced growth, decrease feed efficiency and potential contamination of animal-derived products. The current study investigated the influences of supplementing Nigella sativa (NS) seeds to an Aflatoxin-contaminated diet on rumen parameters, digestibility, and nitrogen balance of male Nubian goats.
Materials and methods: A total number of 20 healthy male Nubian goat kids aged 8-9 months and an average weight of 11 ± 0.5 kg were randomly assigned to 5 equal groups. The control group (T1) received a basal diet. The second treatment group (T2) received the same diet contaminated with 150 ppb Aflatoxin and other treatments received an aflatoxin-contaminated diet supplemented with different levels of crushed NS seeds including 2% (T3), 4% (T4), and 6% (T5) of the total dry matter. Through using naturally infected groundnut cake, Aflatoxin was mixed with other ingredients of ration in different proportions to formulate treated diets. High-performance liquid chromatography was used to determine Aflatoxin concentration. Rumen liquor samples were collected after 40 days feeding period to evaluate rumen pH, volatile fatty acids (VFAs), ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N), rumen electrolytes, and protozoa count.
Results: Rumen pH, ammonia nitrogen, ruminal sodium, and potassium were not significantly affected by the treatment groups. Rumen volatile fatty acids, protozoa count, nutrient digestibility, and nitrogen retention were significantly reduced by an Aflatoxin-contaminated diet (T2) compared to other groups. Supplementation of NS seeds to an Aflatoxin-contaminated diet caused a significant increase in VFAs, decreased protozoa count, and improved digestibility and nitrogen retention in all treated groups compared to T2 and T1 groups.
Conclusion: Supplementing NS seeds to an Aflatoxin-contaminated diet positively affected rumen ecology and improved digestibility and nitrogen retention. The study recommended supplementing 6% of NS seeds to goat diets can reduce the negative effects of Aflatoxin in the diet.
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