Aflatoxins and Wildlife: Exposure, Problems, Detection and Control Methods

Scott E. Henke, Ph.D. and Alan Fedynich (Editors)
Texas A&M University, Kingsville, TX

Series: Animal Science, Issues and Research
BISAC: SCI070000

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Aflatoxins are a highly toxic group of secondary metabolites that are produced by soil fungi, especially Aspergillus spp. fungi. The fungi infect cereal grain crops including corn, wheat, cotton, peanuts, and various other nuts. Aflatoxins can cause serious health concerns because they are known carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, and immunosuppressive agents. Therefore, limits are in place by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding how much aflatoxin can occur in cereal grain that will be consumed by humans and livestock within the human food chain. Such limits are even stricter in Europe than in the United States. Therefore, aflatoxins, when present in cereal grains, contribute to major economic losses in these commodities. However, to date in the United States, aflatoxin concentrations are not restricted within cereal grain provided to wildlife. Various wildlife agencies and organizations recommend limits in aflatoxin concentrations, but these are only recommendations and not mandated by law. Therefore, grain condemned for human consumption can be marketed as feed for wildlife. Unfortunately, wild animals befall the same health concerns as humans when it comes to aflatoxin exposure.

Aflatoxins in Wildlife is a compilation of research concerning the effects of aflatoxin exposure to wildlife by researchers of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. This volume contains sixteen chapters, beginning with a review of aflatoxin, what it is, how it functions in the environment, and its known effects on various species (Chapter One and Two). The book then discusses the potential exposure of wildlife to aflatoxins (Chapter Three), and the prevalence of aflatoxins in feed provided to wildlife (Chapters Four–Six). Chapters Seven–Ten focus on specific effects that aflatoxins have on the physiology of wildlife species, mainly birds, while Chapters Eleven and Twelve research the recovery time needed after aflatoxin exposure and the ability of species to detect aflatoxin within feed. Chapter Thirteen specifically addresses the effects of aflatoxin exposure in wild mammals. The remainder of the book (Chapters Fourteen–Sixteen) focus on testing feed for aflatoxin and how a person can reduce the risk of providing aflatoxin-contaminated grain to wildlife. Aflatoxins in Wildlife is an essential addition to the library of vertebrate and environmental toxicologists, zoonotic disease specialists, veterinary health care professionals, and wildlife biologists.

Scott E. Henke is a wildlife research scientist with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute and a Regents Professor and Chair within the Department of Animal, Rangeland and Wildlife Sciences with Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Dr. Henke has >150 publications in scientific journals and also is co-Editor of the books Becoming a Wildlife Professional and American Alligators: Habitats, Behaviors, and Threats. Alan M. Fedynich is a wildlife research scientist with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute and a Professor within the Department of Animal, Rangeland and Wildlife Sciences with Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Dr. Fedynich has authored/coauthored >70 articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The two researchers have collaborated on numerous zoonotic disease and parasite projects.

Preface

Chapter 1. Review of Aflatoxin Problems in Wildlife
(Carin Kisler-Williams, Scott E. Henke and Alan M. Fedynich, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US)

Chapter 2. Mycotoxins: Form and Function
(Cord B. Eversole and Alexandra L. Brenk, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US, and others)

Chapter 3. Exposure of Wildlife to Aflatoxin
(Scott E. Henke and Alan M. Fedynich, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US)

Chapter 4. Survey of Aflatoxin Concentrations in Wild Bird Seed Purchased in Texas
(Scott E. Henke, V. Celeste Gallardo, Benny Martinez and Robert Bailey, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University—Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US)

Chapter 5. Aflatoxin Production within Common Storage Practices of Grain
(Brent C. Newman, Scott E. Henke, David B. Wester, Alan M. Fedynich, Greta L. Schuster and James Cathey, Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN, US, and others)

Chapter 6. Effect of Climate and Type of Storage Container on Aflatoxin Production in Corn and Its Associated Risks to Wildlife Species
(Cristanne Thompson and Scott E. Henke, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US)

Chapter 7. Acute Effects of Aflatoxin on Northern Bobwhites
(Deana L. Moore, Scott E. Henke1, Alan M. Fedynich, Jamie C. Laurenz, and Robert Morgan, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US, and others)

Chapter 8. The Effect of Aflatoxin on Adaptive Immune Function in Birds
(Deana Moore, Scott E. Henke, Alan M. Fedynich and Jamie C. Laurenz, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US, and others)

Chapter 9. Aflatoxin Inhibits Phagocytic Activity of Macrophages in the Northern Bobwhite and Exacerbates Crippling Loss
(Scott E. Henke, Clay Hilton and Alan M. Fedynich, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US)

Chapter 10. Effect of Body Size on Aflatoxin Susceptibility in Birds
(Carin Kisler-Williams, Scott E. Henke, and Alan M. Fedynich, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US)

Chapter 11. Recovery Time by Birds to a Single Acute Dose of Aflatoxin
(Carin Kisler-Williams, Scott E. Henke, and Alan M. Fedynich, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US)

Chapter 12. Detection of Aflatoxin-Contaminated Grain by Three Granivorous Bird Species
(Manuel Perez, Scott E. Henke, and Alan M. Fedynich, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US)

Chapter 13. The Effect of Aflatoxin in Wild Mammals
(Cord B. Eversole and Alexandra L. Brenk, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US, and others)

Chapter 14. Feasibility of Novice People Testing Their Wildlife Feed for Aflatoxin
(Scott E. Henke, Brent C. Newman, Greta L. Schuster and James Cathey, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US, and others)

Chapter 15. Aspergillus flavus Control: The Need to Consider Spores
(Jacobo Solis, Greta L. Schuster, Scott E. Henke and Alan M. Fedynich, Department of Agriculture, Agribusiness, and Environmental Sciences, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US, and others)

Chapter 16. Feeding Corn to Wildlife— The Unintended Result: Collateral Aflatoxin Poisoning and What a Person Can Do
(Scott E. Henke, Alan M. Fedynich, Carin Kistler-Williams, Deana Moore and Greta L. Schuster, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, US, and others)

About the Editors

Index

Keywords: aflatoxicosis, aflatoxin, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus, immunosuppression, metabolite production, soil fungus, toxicology

Audience: Zoonotic disease specialists, environmental toxicologists, wildlife biologists, wildlife ranching enterprises

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