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Aflatoxin B1 Sorption and Safety of Dietary Sodium Bentonite in Sprague-Dawley Rats

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Clays and Clay Minerals


Bentonites are readily available clays used in the livestock industry as feed additives to reduce aflatoxin (AF) exposure; their potential interaction with nutrients is the main concern limiting their use, however. The objective of the present study was to determine the safety of a dietary sodium-bentonite (Na-bentonite) supplement as a potential AF adsorbent, using juvenile Sprague Dawley (SD) rats as a research model. Animals were fed either a control diet or a diet containing Na-bentonite at 0.25% and 2% (w/w) inclusion rate. Growth, serum, and blood biochemical parameters, including selected serum vitamins (A and E) and elements such as calcium (Ca), potassium (K), iron (Fe), and zinc (Zn) were measured. The mineral characteristics and the aflatoxin B1 sorption capacity of Na-bentonite were also determined. By the end of the study, males gained more weight than females in control and Na-bentonite groups (p ≤ 0.0001); the interaction between treatment and sex was not significant (p = 0.6780), however. Some significant differences between the control group and bentonite treatments were observed in serum biochemistry and vitamin and minerals measurements; however, parameters fell within reference clinical values reported for SD rats and no evidence of dose-dependency was found. Serum Na and Na/K ratios were increased, while K levels were decreased in males and females from Na-bentonite groups. Serum Zn levels were decreased only in males from Na-bentonite treatments. Overall, results showed that inclusion of Na-bentonite at 0.25% and 2% did not cause any observable toxicity in a 3-month rodent study.

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The authors thank AMCOL International Corporation (Hoffman Estates, Illinois) for funding this research and for providing the Na-bentonite used in the present study.

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Funding sources are as stated in the Acknowledgments.

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Authors and Affiliations



Alicia G. Marroquin-Cardona: experimental work of animal study, samples collection, writing, submission.

Youjun Deng: supervision of mineral analyses, revision of data and manuscript.

Jose F. Garcia-Mazcorro: statistical analysis.

Natalie M. Johnson: experimental work in animal study, sample collection.

Nicolle J. Mitchell: experimental work in animal study, sample collection.

Lili Tang: vitamin analyses.

Jia-Sheng Wang: vitamin analyses.

Roger B. Harvey: co-advisor, revision of documents.

Timothy D. Phillips: graduate advisor and sponsor of this research.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alicia G. Marroquín-Cardona.

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The animal use protocol (AUP) 2008-39 was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at Texas A&M University.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Marroquín-Cardona, A.G., Deng, Y., Garcia-Mazcorro, J.F. et al. Aflatoxin B1 Sorption and Safety of Dietary Sodium Bentonite in Sprague-Dawley Rats. Clays Clay Miner. 70, 165–181 (2022).

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