Nufeed – Binding Mycotoxins with Nufeed

What are Mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are the toxic metabolites (by-products) produced by certain species of fungi during their metabolism (conversion) of feed ingredients. About 200 different mycotoxins
have been described with Aflatoxins being a common group frequently found in animal feed.
Mycotoxicoses or aflatoxicisis is the toxic effect that results in animals from the consumption of feedstuffs contaminated by one or more toxins of fungal origin.

Effects of Mycotoxins

The effects of Mycotoxicoses are economically disastrous for animal production. Some of the adverse effects are: reduced growth rate, reduced feed intake, poor carcass quality, reduced
nutrient utilization, immunosuppression leading to increased susceptibility of animal disease, increased mortality etc.

Regulatory Levels

There is no safe level for mycotoxins or aflatoxins in animal feed. The toxicity and impact in animals is affected by several factors including type of toxin, environmental conditions,
genetic viability and nutritional status.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the USA has set a maximum allowable level of aflatoxin of 20 ppb (parts per billion).

Strategies to minimise impact of Mycotoxins

There are many strategies and precautions the animal producer should take to minimise the potential impact of Mycotoxicoses. One of these which is economically and practically viable
is the use of toxin binders and mould inhibitors to detoxify and curtail fungal growth.
There is a large amount of evidence to support the use of NuFeed in this role while at the same time benefiting from other positive impacts of NuFeed in the animal production

Mycotoxins Binding Studies with NuFeed

Laboratory BioControl (Leipzig) showed significant binding (at dosage of 4kg per tonne) for the following Mycotoxins tested:

  • Aflatoxin
  • T-2
  • Ochratoxin
  • Zearalenon
  • Fumonisin
  • DON

The same laboratory tested 2000 sows that were fed with mycotoxin- contaminated feed.
After 14 days using clinoptilolite (NuFeed) in the feed (at 0.8%) blood was again analyzed.
The values for the liver enzymes show the positive interaction of NuFeed.

Average values of the 20 tests:

ASAT (AST) in U/1
Asparat Amino

Y-GT in U/1
Gamma Glutamyl

AP in U/1
Alkaline one
Blood values previously: 59,7 67,44 121,9
Blood values posterior: 27,5 29,65 113,6
Standard values: <35 <35 <170

M. Tomasevic – Canovic et al (1997) have studied the adsorption of mycotoxins (aflatoxin B-2, zearalenone, ochratoxin and T-2 toxin) on various cation-exchanged clinoptilolites (NuFeed). In particular, clinoptilolite (NuFeed) withCa2+ ion dominant (type 1), NH4+ ion (type 2) and Na+ (type 3) were studied.

NuFeed clinoptilolite is predominantly Ca2+ (exchangeable cation) – based (type 1) but during rumen interactions it will take up NH4+ to form type 2. During the process of release of NH4+ by exchange with the sodium salt contained in the saliva, Na+ (type 3) will be formed. Hence there will be a dynamic interchange of various cation-types (1, 2 and 3) during the interaction of NuFeed in the rumen.

The results of the study showed that aflatoxin B-2 was adsorbed (and removed) on all three types of clinoptilolite (NuFeed) with high efficiency. Different degrees of adsorption applied for the other mycotoxins depending on the cation-exchange status (1, 2 or 3).

Scheidler, SE, 1993: Effects of various types of aluminosilicates and aflatoxin 81, Chick performance and mineral studies, Poultry Sci: 72:282- 288

Broiler chicks given 2.5 ppm aflatoxin with Clinoptilolite (NuFeed) gained 15 percent more weight than the aflatoxin fed control group and achieved 97 per cent of the gain of the control group given no aflatoxin.

“Inclusions of Clays in Diets devoid of Aflatoxin Contamination”, MD Lindemann, et al. 1990-92 Animal Science Research Report No 10, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station.
“All four of these clays had previously affected varying degrees of improvement in growth performance when included in diets contaminated with 800 ppb aflatoxin 81. In a two-trial series with no aflatoxin in the diet the inclusion of the clays did not depress any performance parameter… and a Clinoptilolite (NuFeed) actually produced an 8 to 10 percent improvement in average daily gain (P<.05)”.

MYCOTOXIN binding studies indicate that NuFeed (incorporated in animal feed) can play an important role in safeguarding animal production.

Nufeed and Non-Protein Nitrogen {Npn) Supplements

Mode of Action of Clinoptilolite in Ruminant Feeds

The use of NuFeed (Clinoptilolite} in Rumen feeds have been reported in scientific literature.
Galinda et al (1986) when feeding silage to heifers with 5% NuFeed Clinoptilolite (dry matter basis), showed that the cellulytic bacteria population in the rumen was significantly higher (p<.001) than the control, and cellulase activity increased five-fold. They concluded that Clinoptilolite (NuFeed) addition could therefore increase fibre digestibility and utilisation in

Garcia – Lopez et al (1988) fed lactating cows on pasture and concentrate with 2% clinoptilolite (NuFeed). The fat production was significantly higher (P<05) than in the control group. The net acid base of the animals improved with zeolite treatments, which appeared to buffer the electrolyte status of the cows.

Feeding of non-protein nitrogen (NPN) such as urea A significant proportion of the rumen bacterial population can use ammonia as a nitrogen source for protein synthesis. Hence there are economic advantages in replacing protein in the diet with a non-protein nitrogen (NPN} such as urea.
The hydrolysis of NPN to ammonia takes place in the rumen by the action of a bacterial enzyme, urease. Generally, urease activity in the rumen exceeds that needed to degrade a given amount of urea in the feed to ammonia (it is reported 1 mole of urease can hydrolyse 46,000 moles of urea (Nestorov 1983))

As a result, the rate of ammonia production in the rumen from urea hydrolysis is significantly higher than from protein hydrolysis.

NuFeed – Rumen Interaction

To prevent exceeding toxic levels of ammonia in the rumen and in the blood of the animal, some method of controlling rumen ammonia is needed when ammonia toxicity is a threat to the animals’ health. NuFeed (clinoptilolite) with its affinity for ammonium has been used successfully to reduce the toxic effects of ammonia in the rumen.

White and Ohlrogge (1974) cited by Mumpton and Fishman (1977) investigated the effects of Clinoptilolite additions on rumen ammonia levels. They found that ammonium ions (formed by enzyme decomposition of non-protein nitrogen) were ion-exchanged into the NuFeed and released gradually (several hours) by subsequent ion-exchange with sodium entering the rumen in saliva. This action reduces the toxic effects of ammonia in the rumen, as well as making available nitrogen on a more continuous basis for rumen microorganisms to synthesizeprotein.

Nestrorov (1983) describes rumen ammonia levels for optimum protein synthesis. He cities Bryant (1963) and Hungate (1966), that about 28% of rumen bacterial population uses ammonia as a sole nitrogen source for protein synthesis.

Petunkin et al (1993) studied rumen ammonia levels. Petunkin indicated that Clinoptilolite (NuFeed) can reduce the toxic effects of urea and increase the efficiency of nitrogen utilisation.
Jacobi et al (1984) reported on the ammonia concentrations resulting from application of urea at a rate of 0.2g per 1 kg live weight of bulls with NuFeed (clinoptilolite) administered at a rate of 2.5% per 1 kg of dry matter.

After urea administration, NuFeed reduced the ammonia concentration in the rumen by 20-40% by comparison with the control group and in the portal vein by 60-70%. In the jugular vein in the 90t h minute after feeding, significant hyperammonemia was observed in bulls with no zeolite supplement.


Galinda, J., Elias, a. and Gonzlez, M.R. (1986) The Effect of Zeolite on Ruminal Bacteria Populations and its Activity in Heifers Fed Sunflower: Sorghum Silage. In “New Development
in Zeolite Science and Technology” edit Murakami, Y., lijima, A. and Ward, J.W. Proc. Of the ih Inter. Zeolite Conference, Tokyo, Aug, 17-22, 1986.
Garcia – Lopez, A., Elias, A., Perez de la Paz J. and Gonzalez G. “The utilization of zeolite by dairy cows. 1. The effect on milk composition”. Cuban J Agri. Sci. 1988 22:33
Jacobi u., Vrzgula L., Blazovsky J., Havassy I., Ledecky V., and Bartko P. “The effect of zeolite (clinoptilolite) on the post – feeding dynamics of N metabolism in the portal vein jugular
vein and the rumen fluid of bulls”. Vet Med (Pratia) 1984 Apr; 29 (4); 201-16
Mumpton F.A. and Fishman P.H. (1977) “the Application of Natural Zeolites in Animal Science and Aquaculture “J. Animal Sc., Vol 45, No 5 (1977)
Nestorov Nikola (1983) “Possible Applications of Natural Zeolites in Animal Husbandry” in Zea – Agriculture: Use of Natural Zeolites in Agriculture and Aquaculture edited by Wilson
G. Pond and Frederick A. Mumpton Westview Press 1984 pp 163-171
Petunkin N.! Makarychev Y.I. and Gabuda S. P. “Use of Natural Zeolites in Agriculture and
for Environmental Protection” (1993) White, J. Land Oh/rogge A. J. 1974. Ion exchange materials to increase consumption of non-protein nitrogen in ruminants Can. Patent 939186, Jan 2, 1974. 30p