Skip to main content Accessibility help

An extensive review of experimental ochratoxicosis in poultry: I. Growth and production parameters along with histopathological alterations

  • A. KHATOON (a1) and Z. ABIDIN (a2)


The presence of certain mycotoxins within poultry feed has a negative impact upon the growth and the quality of the final product in the form of meat and eggs. More than 300 different chemically diverse mycotoxins have been identified, but ochratoxins and aflatoxins are considered to be most harmful to the poultry industry. Ochratoxin, more importantly ochratoxin A (OTA) is produced by different species of Aspergillus and Penicillium spp. which are present as storage fungi within the stored grains and feed ingredients. Body weight gain has been found to decrease in a dose dependent manner when infected at rates of 0.5-29.4 mg/kg for 7-60 days in different experimental studies. Decreased feed intake has been observed at levels of 0.5-4 mg/kg OTA fed for 21-60 days, while egg production, hatchability, eggshell thickness and egg mass production is severely affected when 0.5-4 mg/kg OTA in feed was fed for 28-84 days. However, 0.5-20 mg/kg OTA given for between two and 10 weeks of age was sufficient to produce histopathological alterations in the liver, kidney, thymus, bursa of Fabricius, spleen, lungs and heart. The research shows that OTA adversely affects every organ in birds and, in the following review, OTA associated alterations in growth parameters, production performance and histopathological disturbances of different body organs are discussed.


Corresponding author


Hide All
ABARCA, M.L., ACCENSI, F., BRAGULAT, M.R. and CABAÑES, F.J. (2001) Current importance of ochratoxin A-producing Aspergillus spp. Journal of Food Protection 64: 903-906.
ABIDIN, Z. and KHATOON, A. (2012a) Ruminal microflora, mycotoxin inactivation by ruminal microflora and conditions favouring mycotoxicosis in ruminants: A review. International Journal of Veterinary Science 1: 36-43.
ABIDIN, Z. and KHATOON, A. (2012b) Mycotoxicosis-Diagnosis, Prevention and Control. Proceedings of Poultry Health Conference Bangkok (Thailand), 14-15 May, 2012.
ABIDIN, Z., KHATOON, A., AROOJ, N., HUSSAIN, S., ALI, S., MANZOOR, A.W. and SALEEMI, M.K. (2017) Estimation of ochratoxin A in poultry feed and feed ingredients with special reference to temperature conditions. British Poultry Science 58: 251-255.
ABIDIN, Z., KHATOON, A. and NUMAN, M. (2011) Mycotoxins in broilers: pathological alterations induced by aflatoxins and ochratoxins, diagnosis and determination, treatment and control of mycotoxicosis. World's Poultry Science Journal 67: 485-496.
ABIDIN, Z., KHAN, M.Z., KHATOON, A., SALEEMI, M.K. and KHAN, A. (2016) Protective effects of l-carnitine upon toxicopathological alterations induced by ochratoxin A in white Leghorn cockerels. Toxin Reviews 35: 157-164.
AGAWANE, S.B. and LONKAR, P.S. (2004) Effect of probiotic containing Saccharomyces boulardii on experimental ochratoxicosis in broilers: hematobiochemical studies. Journal of Veterinary Sciences 5: 359-367.
ALEKSANDROV, M. and DZHUROV, A. (1987) Effect of ochratoxin on the health status of broilers. Veterinarno Meditsinski Nauki 24: 38-43.
ANAND, S. and RATI, E.R. (2006) An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for monitoring of Aspergillus ochraceus growth in coffee powder, chilli powder and poultry feed. Letters in Applied Microbiology 42: 59-65.
ANJUM, M.A., SAHOTA, A.W., AKRAM, M. and ALI, I. (2011) Prevalence of mycotoxins in poultry feeds and feed ingredients in Punjab (Pakistan). The Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences 2: 117-120.
BACON, C.W., SWEENEY, J.G., ROBBINS, J.D. and BURDICK, D. (1973) Production of penicillic acid and ochratoxin A on poultry feed by Aspergillus ochraceus: temperature and moisture requirements. Applied Microbiology 26: 155-160.
BEG, M.U., AL-MUTAIRI, M., BEG, K.R., AL-MAZEEDI, H.M., ALI, L.N. and SAEED, T. (2006) Mycotoxins in poultry feed in Kuwait. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 50: 594-602.
BOZZO, G., ELISABETTA, B., EDMONDO, C., VALERIANA, C. and GIUSEPPINA, T. (2011) Determination of ochratoxin A in eggs and target tissues of experimentally drugged hens using HPLC–FLD. Food Chemistry 126: 1278-1282.
BOZZO, G., CECI, E., BONERBA, E., DESANTIS, S. and TANTILLO, G. (2008) Ochratoxin A in laying hens: high-performance liquid chromatography detection and cytological and histological analysis of target tissues. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 17: 151-156.
BRUININK, A. and SIDLER, C. (1997) The neurotoxic effects of ochratoxin-A are reduced by protein binding but are not affected byl-phenylalanine. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 146: 173-179.
BRUININK, A., RASONYI, T. and SIDLER, C. (1997) Reduction of ochratoxin A toxicity by heat-induced epimerization. In vitro effects of ochratoxins on embryonic chick meningeal and other cell cultures. Toxicology 118: 205-210.
CHANG, C.F., DOERR, J.A. and HAMILTON, P.B. (1981) Experimental ochratoxicosis in turkey poults. Poultry Science 60: 114-119.
CHOUDHURY, H., CARLSON, C.W. and SEMENIUK, G. (1971) A study of ochratoxin toxicity in hens. Poultry Science 50: 1855-1859.
CREPPY, E.E., STORMER, F.C., ROSCHENTHALER, R. and DIRHEIMER, G. (1983) Effects of two metabolites of ochratoxin A, (4R)-4-hydroxyochratoxin A and ochratoxin alpha, on immune response in mice. Infection and Immunity 39: 1015-1018.
DALCERO, A., MAGNOLI, C., HALLAK, C., CHIACCHIERA, S.M., PALACIO, G. and ROSA, C.A. (2002) Detection of ochratoxin A in animal feeds and capacity to produce this mycotoxin by Aspergillus section Nigri in Argentina. Food Additives and Contaminants 19: 1065-1072.
DENLI, M. and PEREZ, J.F. (2010) Ochratoxins in feed, A risk for animal and public health: control Strategies. Toxins 2: 1065-1077.
DENLI, M., BLANDON, J.C., GUYNOT, M.E., SALADO, S. and PEREZ, J.F. (2008) Efficacy of a new ochratoxin-binding agent (OcraTox) to counteract the deleterious effects of ochratoxin A in laying hens. Poultry Science 87: 2266-2272.
DIRHEIMER, G. (1996) Mechanistic approaches to ochratoxin toxicity. Food Additives and Contaminants 13: 45-48.
DOUPNIK, B.J. and PECKHAM, J.C. (1970) Mycotoxicity of Aspergillus ochraceus to Chicks. Applied Microbiology 19: 594-597.
DUFF, S.R., BURNS, R.B. and DWIVEDI, P. (1987) Skeletal changes in broiler chicks and turkey poults fed diets containing ochratoxin A. Research in Veterinary Science 43: 301-307.
DWIVEDI, P. and BURNS, R.B. (1985) Immunosuppressive effects of ochratoxin A in young turkeys Avian Pathology 14: 213-225.
DWIVEDI, P. and BURNS, R.B. (1984a) Effect of ochratoxin A on immunoglobulins in broiler chicks. Research in Veterinary Science 36: 117-121.
DWIVEDI, P. and BURNS, R.B. (1984b) Pathology of ochratoxicosis A in young broiler chicks. Research in Veterinary Science 36: 92-103.
ELAROUSSI, M.A., MOHAMED, F.R., EL BARKOUKY, E.M., ATTA, A.M., ABDOU, A.M. and HATAB, M.H. (2006) Experimental ochratoxicosis in broiler chickens. Avian Pathology 35: 263-269.
FAREED, G., ANJUM, M.A. and AHMED, N. (2014) Determination of Aflatoxin and Ochratoxin in poultry feed ingredients and finished feed in humid semi-tropical environment. Journal of Advanced Veterinary and Animal Research 1: 201-207.
FIGUEROA, S., CENTENO, S., CALVO, M.A., RENGEL, A. and ADELANTADO, C. (2009) Mycobiota and concentration of ochratoxin A in concentrated poultry feed from Venezuela. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 12: 589-594.
FINK-GREMMELS, J. (1999) Mycotoxins: their implications for human and animal health. Veterinary Quarterly 21: 115-120.
FUCHS, R. (1988) Distribution and fate of ochratoxin A in experimental animals. Doctoral thesis, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Uppsala, Sweden.
GARALEVICIENE, D. (2003) Effect of antioxidant preparation “oxynil” on health status and productivity of laying hens fed naturally moulded feed. Veterinarija IR Zootechnika 24: 22-29.
GENTLES, A., SMITH, E.E., KUBENA, L.F., DUFFUS, E., JOHNSON, P., THOMPSON, J., HARVEY, R.B. and EDRINGTON, T.S. (1999) Toxicological evaluations of cyclopiazonic acid and ochratoxin A in broilers. Poultry Science 78: 1380-1384.
GIBSON, R.M., BAILEY, C.A., KUBENA, L.F., HUFF, W.E. and HARVEY, R.B. (1989) Ochratoxin A and dietary protein. 1. Effects on body weight, feed conversion, relative organ weight, and mortality in three-week-old broilers. Poultry Science 68: 1658-1663.
GRECO, M.V., FRANCHI, M.L., RICO GOLBA, S.L., PARDO, A.G. and POSE, G.N. (2014) Mycotoxins and mycotoxigenic fungi in poultry feed for food-producing animals. The Scientific World Journal 2014: 9.
HAMILTON, P.B., HUFF, W.E., HARRIS, J.R. and WYATT, R.D. (1982) Natural occurrences of ochratoxicosis in poultry. Poultry Science 61: 1832-1841.
HANIF, N.Q., MUHAMMAD, G., SIDDIQUE, M., KHANUM, A., AHMED, T., GADAHAI, J.A. and KAUKAB, G. (2008) Clinico-pathomorphological, serum biochemical and histological studies in broilers fed ochratoxin A and a toxin deactivator (Mycofix Plus). British Poultry Science 49: 632-642.
HANIF, N.Q., NASEEM, M., KHATOON, S. and MALIK, N. (2006) Prevalence of mycotoxins in poultry rations. Pakistan Journal of Science and Industrial Research 49: 120-124.
HOEHLER, D. and MARQUARDT, R.R. (1996) Influence of vitamins E and C on the toxic effects of ochratoxin A and T-2 toxin in chicks. Poultry Science 75: 1508-1515.
HOEHLER, D., MARQUARDT, R.R. and ROHLICH, A.A. (1997) Lipid peroxidation as one mode of action in ochratoxin A toxicity in rats and chicks. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 77: 287-292.
HUFF, W.E., KUBENA, L.F. and HARVEY, R.B. (1988) Progression of ochratoxicosis in broiler chickens. Poultry Science 67: 1139-1146.
HUFF, W.E., DOERR, J.A., WABECK, C.J., CHALOUPKA, G.W., MAY, J.D. and MERKLEY, J.W. (1984) The individual and combined effects of aflatoxin and ochratoxin A on various processing parameters of broiler chickens. Poultry Science 63: 2153-2161
HUFF, W.E., WYATT, R.D. and HAMILTON, P.B. (1975) Nephrotoxicity of dietary ochratoxin A in broiler chickens. Applied Microbiology 30: 48-51.
HUFF, W.E., WYATT, R.D., TUCKER, T.L. and HAMILTON, P.B. (1974) Ochratoxicosis in the broiler chicken. Poultry Science 53: 1585-1591.
IARC (1993) IARC Monograph on the evaluation of carcinogenic risk to humans, some naturally occurring substances: Food items and constituents, heteroyclic aromatic amines and mycotoxins; The International Agency for Research on Cancer: Lyon, France, Volume 56.
JACOBSON, M.D. (1996) Reactive oxygen species and programmed cell death. Trends in Biochemical Sciences 21: 83-86.
KOYNARSKY, V., STOEV, S., GROZEVA, N., MIRTCHEVA, T., DASKALOV, H., MITEV, J. and MANTLE, P. (2007) Experimental coccidiosis provoked by Eimeria acervulina in chicks simultaneously fed on ochratoxin A contaminated diet. Research in Veterinary Science 82: 225-231.
KOZACZYNSKI, W. (1994) Experimental ochratoxicosis A in chickens. Histopathological and histochemical study. Archivum Veterinarium Polonicum 34: 205-219.
KUMAR, A., JINDAL, N., SHUKLA, C.L., ASRANI, R.K., LEDOUX, D.R. and ROTTINGHAUS, G.E. (2004) Pathological changes in broiler chickens fed ochratoxin A and inoculated with Escherichia coli. Avian Pathology 33: 413-417.
LI, S., MARQUARDT, R.R., FROHLICH, A.A., VITTI, T.G. and CROW, G. (1997) Pharmacokinetics of ochratoxin A and its metabolites in rats. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 145: 82-90.
MAGNOLI, C., HALLAK, C., ASTORECA, A., PONSONE, L., CHIACCHIERA, S.M., PALACIO, G. and DALCERO, A. (2005) Surveillance of toxigenic fungi and ochratoxin a in feedstuffs from cordoba province, Argentina. Veterinary Research Communication 29: 431-445.
MAGNOLI, C.E., ASTORECA, A.L., CHIACCHIERA, S.M. and DALCERO, A.M. (2007) Occurrence of ochratoxin A and ochratoxigenic mycoflora in corn and corn based foods and feeds in some South American countries. Mycopathologia 163: 249.
MARQUARDT, R.R. and FROHLICH, A.A. (1992) A review of recent advances in understanding ochratoxicosis. Journal of Animal Science 70: 3968-3988.
MOHIUDDIN, S.M., REDDY, M.V. and AHMED, S.R. (1992) Studies on ochratoxicosis in broiler chicks. Indian Veterinary Journal 69: 1011-1014.
MOSS, M.O. (1996) Mode of formation of ochratoxin A. Food Additives and Contaminants 13: 5-9.
MURIUKI, G.K. and SIBOE, G.M. (1995) Maize flour contaminated with toxigenic fungi and mycotoxins in Kenya. African Journal of Health Science 2: 236-241.
NIEMIEC, J., CYWA-BENKO, K., STEPINSKA, M., WEZYK, S. and SWIERCZEWSKA, E. (1993a) Effect of ochratoxin A on ultrastucture of egg-shell in Rhode Island Red hens. Proceedings of 5th European Symposium on the Quality of Eggs and Egg Products. Tours pp. 163-173.
NIEMIEC, J., GOLINSKI, P., BORZEMSKA, W., SWIERCZEWSKA, E. and STEPINSKA, M. (1993b) The effect of ochratoxin A contained in the mixture for layers on the results of hatch. Zesz. Nauk. PTZ, 8, Chow i hodowla drobiu, 252-257.
NIEMIEC, J., BORZEMSKA, W., GOLINSKI, P., KARPINSKA, E., SZELESZCZUK, T. and CELEDA, P. (1994) The effect of ochratoxin A on egg quality development of embryos and the level of toxin in egg and tissue of hens and chicks. Journal of Animal and Feed Science 3: 309-316.
NJOBEH, P.B., DUTTON, M.F., ÅBERG, A.T. and HAGGBLOM, P. (2012) Estimation of multi-mycotoxin contamination in South African compound feeds. Toxins 4: 836-848.
O'BRIEN, E. and DIETRICH, D.R. (2005) Ochratoxin A: the continuing enigma. Critical Reviews in Toxicology 35: 33-60.
PAGE, R.K., STEWART, G., WYATT, R., BUCH, P., FLETCHER, O.J. and BROWN, J. (1980) Influence of low levels of ochratoxin A on egg production, egg-shell strains and serum uric acid levels in Leghorn-type hens. Avian Diseases 24: 777-780.
PERRONE, G., SUSCA, A., COZZI, G., EHRLICH, K., VARGA, J., FRISVAD, J.C., MEIJER, M., NOONIM, P., MAHAKARNCHANAKUL, W. and SAMSON, R.A. (2007) Biodiversity of Aspergillus species in some important agricultural products. Studies in Mycology 59: 53-66.
PITOUT, J. and NEL, W. (1969) The inhibitory effect of ochratoxin A on bovine carboxypeptidase A in vitro. Biochemical Pharmacology 18: 1837-1843.
PRIOR, M.G. (1976) Mycotoxin determinations on animal feedstuffs and tissues in Western Canada. Canadian Journal of Comparative Medicine 40: 75-79.
PRIOR, M.G. and SISODIA, C.S. (1978) Ochratoxicosis in White Leghorn hens. Poultry Science 57: 619-623.
PRIOR, M.G., SISODIA, C.S. and O'NEIL, J.B. (1976) Acute oral ochratoxicosis in day-old white leghorns, turkeys and Japanese quail. Poultry Science 55: 786-790.
PRIOR, M.G., SISODIA, C.S. and O'NEIL, J.B. (1981) Effects of ochratoxin A on egg production, body weight and feed intake in White Leghorn hens. Poultry Science 60: 1145-1148.
RANJAN, K.S. and SINHA, A.K. (1991) Occurrence of mycotoxigenic fungi and mycotoxins in animal feed from Bihar, India. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 56: 39-47.
REFAI, M.K., AZIZ, N.H., EL-FAR, F. and HASSAN, A.A. (1996) Detection of ochratoxin produced by A. ochraceus in feedstuffs and its control by γ radiation. Applied Radiation and Isotopes 47: 617-621.
RONCADA, P., SIMIOLI, M., ALTAFINI, A., ZAGHINI, A., MANCINI, G. and RIZZI, L. (2006) Ochratoxin A, esterified glucomannan and Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the diet for laying hens. Proceedings of EPC 2006-12th European Poultry Conference, Verona, Italy, 10-14 September, 2006. World's Poultry Science Association (WPSA).
ROSA, C.A., RIBEIRO, J.M., FRAGA, M.J., GATTI, M., CAVAGLIERI, L.R., MAGNOLI, C.E., DALCERO, A.M. and LOPES, C.W. (2006) Mycoflora of poultry feeds and ochratoxin-producing ability of isolated Aspergillus and Penicillium species. Veterinary Microbiology 113: 89-96.
ROSA, C.D.R., PALACIOS, V., COMBINA, M., FRAGA, M.E., REKSON, A.D.O., MAGNOLI, C.E. and DALCERO, A.M. (2002) Potential ochratoxin A producers from wine grapes in Argentina and Brazil. Food Additives and Contaminants 19: 408-414.
SAHAR, N., AHMED, M., PARVEEN, Z., ILYAS, A. and BHUTTO, A. (2009) Screening of mycotoxins in wheat, fruits and Vegetables grown in Sindh. Pakistan Journal of Botany 41: 337-341.
SANDHU, B.S., SINGH, H. and SINGH, B. (1995) Pathological studies in broiler chicks fed aflatoxin or ochratoxin and inoculated with inclusion body hepatitis virus singly and in concurrence. Veterinary Research Communication 19: 27-37.
SAWALE, G.K., GOSH, R.C., RAVIKANTH, K., MAINI, S. and REKHE, D.S. (2009) Experimental mycotoxicosis in layer induced by ochratoxin A and its amelioration with herbomineral toxin binder ‘Toxiroak’. International Journal of Poultry Science 8: 798-803.
SCHIAVONE, A., CAVALLERO, C., GIROTTO, L., POZZO, L., ANTONIAZZI, S. and CAVALLARIN, L. (2008) A survey on the occurrence of ochratoxin A in feeds and sera collected in conventional and organic poultry farms in Northern Italy. Italian Journal of Animal Science 7: 495-503.
SCHOLTYSSEK, S., NIEMIEC, J. and BAUER, J. (1987) Ochratoxin A in the layers' feed, 1: Influence on laying performance and egg quality. Archiv für Geflügelkunde (Germany, FR).
SHAH, H.U., SIMPSON, T.J., ALAM, S., KHATTAK, K.F. and PERVEEN, S. (2010) Mould incidence and mycotoxin contamination in maize kernels from Swat Valley, North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Food and Chemical Toxicology 48: 1111-1116.
SHERAZI, S.T.H., SHAR, Z.H., SUMBAL, G.A., TAN, E.T., BHANGER, M.I., KARA, H. and NIZAMANI, S.M. (2015) Occurrence of ochratoxin A in poultry feeds and feed ingredients from Pakistan. Mycotoxin Research 31: 1-7.
SHOTWELL, O.L., HESSELTINE, C.W. and GOULDEN, M.L. (1969) Ochratoxin A: occurrence as a natural contaminant of a corn sample. Applied Microbiology 17: 765-766.
SINGH, G.S., CHAUHAN, H.V., JHA, G.J. and SINGH, K.K. (1990) Immunosuppression due to chronic ochratoxicosis in broiler chicks. Journal of Comparative Pathology 103: 399-410.
SOLCAN, C., COMAN, I. and SOLCAN, G.H. (2008) Histological lesions of the liver in chicken's ochratoxicosis. Lucrari Stiinłifice Medicina Veterinara 8: 898-903.
STOEV, S.D., ANGUELOV, G., IVANOV, I. and PAVLOV, D. (2000) Influence of ochratoxin A and an extract of artichoke on the vaccinal immunity and health in broiler chicks. Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology 52: 43-55.
STOEV, S.D., DASKALOV, H., RADIC, B., DOMIJAN, A.M. and PERAICA, M. (2002a) Spontaneous mycotoxic nephropathy in Bulgarian chickens with unclarified mycotoxin aetiology. Veterinary Research 33: 83-93.
STOEV, S.D., DJUVINOV, D., MIRTCHEVA, T., PAVLOV, D. and MANTLE, P. (2002b) Studies on some feed additives giving partial protection against ochratoxin A toxicity in chicks. Toxicology Letters 135: 33-50.
STOEV, S.D., STEFANOV, M., RADIC, B., DOMIJAN, A.M. and PERAICA, M. (2004) Experimental mycotoxicosis in chickens induced by ochratoxin A and penicillic acid and intervention with natural plant extracts. Veterinary Research Communications 28: 727-746.
THIRUMALA-DEVI, K., MAYO, M.A., REDDY, G. and REDDY, D.V. (2002) Occurrence of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A in Indian poultry feeds. Journal of Food Protection 65: 1338-1340.
VALENTA, H. (1998) Chromatographic methods for the determination of ochratoxin A in animal and human tissues and fluids. Journal of Chromatography A 815: 75-92.
VERMA, J., JOHRI, T.S. and SWAIN, B.K. (2003) Effect of varying levels of aflatoxin, ochratoxin and their combinations on the performance and egg quality characteristics in laying hens. Asian-Australian Journal of Animal Science 16: 1015-1019.
VERMA, J., JOHRI, T.S., SWAIN, B.K. and AMEENA, S. (2004) Effect of graded levels of aflatoxin, ochratoxin and their combinations on the performance and immune response of broilers. British Poultry Science 45: 512-518.
WIDIASTUTI, R., MARYAM, R., BLANEY, B.J. and STOLTZ, D.R. (1988) Cyclopiazonic acid in combination with aflatoxins, zearalenone and ochratoxin A in Indonesian corn. Mycopathologia 104: 153-156.
WU, S., DUAN, N., WANG, Z. and WANG, H. (2011) Aptamer-functionalized magnetic nanoparticle-based bioassay for the detection of ochratoxin A using upconversion nanoparticles as labels. Analyst 136: 2306-2314.
XIAO, H., MADHYASTHA, S., MARQUARDT, R.R., LI, S., VODELA, J.K., FROHLICH, A.A. and KEMPPAINEN, B.W. (1996) Toxicity of ochratoxin A, its opened lactone form and several of its analogs: structure-activity relationships. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 137: 182-192.
ZAFAR, F., YASMIN, N., HASSAN, R., NAIM, T. and QURESHI, A.A. (2001) A study on the analysis of ochratoxin-A in different poultry feed ingredients. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 14: 5-7.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed