Effect of Dietary Melatonin and L-Tryptophan on Growth Performance and Immune Responses ofBroiler Chicken under Experimental Aflatoxicosis

Document Type : Research/Original Article


Division of Physiology and Reproduction, Central Avian Research Institute, Izatnagar, 243122, UP, India


The aim of the present work was to determine whether the administration of melatonin or L­-tryptophan (a precursor of melatonin) affects the immune responses and performance of broilers during induced exposure to aflatoxins in feed. The study was conducted from 0-6 weeks comprising six dietary treatments in triplicate with10 chickens in each replicate. The diets were formulated to supply 23% crude protein (CP) and 2800 kcal ME/kg in starter ration and 20% CP and 2900 kcal ME/kg in finisher ration. The experimental diets were offered ad libitum with free access to water throughout the entire experiment. Inclusion of aflatoxin in the feed at 0.5mg/kg feed caused a significant reduction in the growth performance of broilers. Supplementation of melatonin (20mg/kg in feed and 20mg/kg body weight through i.p. route) or its precursor (L-tryptophan at 250 mg/kg feed) in aflatoxin fed broilers resulted in numerically improved performance. Aflatoxin inclusion in the feed also caused a significant reduction in haemagglutination titer against sheep RBC and cell mediated immune responses to phytohemagglutinin (PHA-P) in broilers. Melatonin or L-tryptophan inclusion in toxin incorporated feed significantly improved both humoral and cell mediated immunity. No significant (P>0.05) differences wereobserved among various groups with respect to kidney and spleen weight but liver weight increased significantly (P≤0.05) and weight of bursa significantly decreased upon aflatoxin inclusion. Our study suggests that L-tryptophan was partially as effective as melatonin in alleviating aflatoxin induced growth retardation and immunosuppression in broiler chicken.


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Volume 3, Issue 1 - Serial Number 1
March 2013
Pages 139-144
  • Receive Date: 30 January 2012
  • Revise Date: 26 March 2012
  • Accept Date: 01 April 2012
  • First Publish Date: 01 March 2013