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  • Author or Editor: Erzsébet Berta x
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In order to investigate the effects of exposure to possible environmental pollutants such as Cd, Pb and Hg on haematological and serum biochemistry values, New Zealand White female rabbits were treated orally with distilled water solutions of CdSO4·H2O, Pb(NO3)2 and HgCl2 (n = 4/treatment) in concentrations of 2.3, 4.1, and 30 mg/kg dry matter, respectively, for 28 days. The initial concentrations of Cd, Pb, and Hg in serum were significantly increased by the treatment. Exposure to Pb significantly decreased the red blood cell (RBC) count, haemoglobin (Hgb) concentration and the haematocrit (Hct) value. The Zn-protoporphyrin concentration did not change as a result of Pb exposure. Pb and Hg loading significantly increased the aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activity. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity was also increased by both Hg and Cd exposure. Comparing the treated and the control rabbits, all the trace elements studied significantly reduced the activity of enzymes in the pancreatic tissues. The haematological results indicate that hyperchromic macrocytic anaemia developed in rabbits treated with Pb. The increased activities of both AST and ALT indicate pathophysiological changes of the liver parenchyma, which was verified by focal fatty infiltration seen histopathologically. Cd exposure could exert a toxic effect on the kidneys, although the slight tubulonephrosis developed would not possibly affect the renal function. The reduced activities of amylase, trypsin, protease and lipase induced by Cd, Pb and Hg suggest toxicity to the pancreas.

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Authors: A. Bersényi, S. Gy. Fekete, M. Szilágyi, Erzsébet Berta, L. Zöldág and R. Glávits

Broiler chicken and rabbit experiments were carried out to study the effects of nickel (Ni) supplementation on growth performance and Ni metabolism. ROSS cockerels and New Zealand White female rabbits were fed a diet containing Ni in concentrations of 0, 50 and 500 mg/kg in dry matter (DM). Dietary supplementation of 50 mg Ni/kg slightly improved the body weight gain (BWG) and had a beneficial effect on the feed conversion efficiency (FCE) in broiler chickens. However, Ni added at a level of 500 mg/kg significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the BWG by 10% and resulted in significantly (P < 0.05) worse (2.3 ± 0.2 kg/kg) FCE. The relative weight of the liver in cockerels was significantly (P < 0.05) decreased by Ni as compared to the control group (1.7 and 2.1% vs. 2.6%). The activity of AST and CHE enzymes was increased insignificantly by dietary supplementation of 500 mg Ni/kg, indicating damage of the liver parenchyma. The results of serum biochemistry were confirmed by a mild or moderate form of pathological focal fatty infiltration of the liver in broilers. Supplemental Ni of 50 mg/kg concentration resulted in non-significantly increased BWG in rabbits. Ni added to the diet at a level of 500 mg/kg reduced the digestibility of crude protein by 3-4% and that of crude fibre by 20-25% in rabbits. Approx. 98% of the ingested Ni was lost from the body via the faeces, 0.5-1.5% via the urine and approx. 1% was incorporated into the organs of rabbits. As a result of dietary supplementation of 50 and 500 mg Ni/kg, Ni accumulated in the kidneys (4.9 ± 0.5 and 17.1 ± 3.1 vs. 1.9 ± 0.3 mg/kg DM), ribs (10.3 ± 0.4 and 10.4 ± 0.6 vs. 9.1 ± 0.6 mg/kg DM), heart (1.4 ± 0.2 and 2.5 ± 0.4 vs. 1.0 ± 0.1 mg/kg DM) and liver (1.3 ± 0.1 and 2.2 ± 0.2 vs. 0.9 ± 0.05 mg/kg DM), as compared to the control animals. It can be stated that supplementation of the diet with 50 mg Ni/kg had slight but non-significant beneficial effects on the growth performance of broiler chickens and rabbits.

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Authors: Erzsébet Berta, Emese Andrásofszky, A. Bersényi, R. Glávits, A. Gáspárdy and S. Gy. Fekete

The effects of dietary levels of manganese (Mn) in inorganic (MnO) and organic (Mn fumarate) forms were evaluated on cockerel chicks. A basal corn-soybean diet with 23 mg/kg Mn was supplemented with levels of 0, 30, 60 and 240 ppm Mn from both Mn sources. Each treatment was replicated in five pens of 10 chicks. The chicks were fed diets ad libitum from 14 to 49 days of age, after which five birds per treatment were sacrificed for pathomorphological examinations and analysis. The treatments did not exert significant effects on the body weight (BW), the feed/gain (F/G) ratio or the mortality rate. According to the necropsy findings, no growth retardation or emaciation occurred in either of the groups and the differences in the average absolute and relative organ weights were not significant (P ? 0.05). Tissue analysis indicated that the tibia showed the greatest response to Mn, followed by the liver and kidney. Accumulation in the tibia was higher (P < 0.05) with supplements of 30, 60 and 240 mg/kg from both Mn sources (3.71, 3.78, 4.44, and 3.68, 4.00, 4.36 mg/kg DM, MnO and Mn fumarate, respectively) compared to the control group (3.21 mg/kg). Accumulation in the liver increased significantly (P < 0.05) only with supplements of 60 and 240 ppm independently of the Mn source (12.7, 14.2, and 14.0, 14.9 mg/kg, respectively) compared to the control (9.8 mg/kg). Similarly, kidney tissue Mn was higher (P < 0.05) only with supplements of 60 and 240 ppm (12.8, 12.8, and 13.1, 12.5 mg/kg, respectively) compared to the control (10.2 mg/kg). At the same level of supplementation of the two Mn sources there were no significant differences (P ? 0.05) between the Mn concentrations of organs and tissues. Droppings sensitively reflected the intake, whereas blood plasma and feathers showed only the extreme Mn loading.

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Authors: József Szabó, András Vucskits, Emese Andrásofszky, Erzsébet Berta, András Bersényi, László Börzsönyi, Vilmos Pálfi and István Hullár

The aim of this study was to assess the age-related effects of dietary electrolyte balance (DEB) on the performance, immune response (from day 0 to 42) and macromineral content of femur ash of broilers. The DEB values of the purchased commercial broiler diets were modified with the addition of NH4Cl or NaHCO3 to formulate the diets (DEB 325, 250, 175, 100, 25 and −50 mmol/kg) for this investigation. A total of 396 chickens were divided into 6 treatment groups and fed with the experimental diets for 6 weeks. During the first two weeks of life, DEB did not influence feed intake and body weight gain; however, by the 21st day of age DEB 175 and between 22 and 42 days of age DEB 250 mmol/kg gave significantly better results than the control. DEB did not affect the macromineral concentrations of bone ash. The immune response of broilers on low DEB (< 175 mmol/kg) was faster and more intensive than that of chickens on diets with medium or high DEB (> 175 mmol/kg). It can be concluded that the optimal DEB value required for the best body weight gain is significantly influenced by the age of broilers. Our results call attention to the discrepancy between the decreasing DEB level of commercial broiler diets and the age-related increase of ‘electrolyte requirements’ of broilers. It is also interesting that DEB may influence not only the performance but also the immune response of broilers.

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Authors: István Hullár, András Valentin Vucskits, Erzsébet Berta, Emese Andrásofszky, András Bersényi and József Szabó

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of fulvic acid (FA) and humic acid (HA), the two main compounds of humic substances (HSs), on copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) homeostasis. Seventy-two male Wistar rats were randomly divided into nine experimental groups. The control diet (AIN-93G formula) and the diets supplemented with 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.4% and 0.8% FA or HA were fed for 26 days. Cu and Zn concentrations of the large intestinal content (LIC), liver, kidney, femur and hair were determined. FA and HA did not influence significantly the Cu or Zn contents of the experimental diets, the rats’ feed intake, weight gain and the feed to gain ratio. Both FA and HA decreased the Cu concentrations of the LIC significantly and in a dose-related manner; however the absorption-stimulating effect of HA was more pronounced. FA increased the Cu content of the liver, but neither FA nor HA had a dose-dependent effect on it. FA or HA supplementations had no significant effect on the Cu concentration of the kidney. At the concentrations used, dietary FA or HA supplementations are not promising growth promoters. FA influences the Cu homeostasis unlike HA, because FA not only stimulates Cu absorption, but the extra quantity of absorbed Cu is retained in the organism. The stimulatory effect of HA on Zn absorption may not be manifested in Cu and Zn homeostasis, because of the tight connection of these microelements to FA and HA, which prevents the transmission of Zn from the ZnHA complex to the organs. As regards the effect of FA and HA on Cu and Zn homeostasis, both FA and HA stimulated the absorption of these microelements, but only FA increased the retention of Cu (in the liver) and Zn (in the kidney).

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Authors: József Szabó, András Valentin Vucskits, Erzsébet Berta, Emese Andrásofszky, András Bersényi and István Hullár

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of fulvic acid (FA) and humic acid (HA) as the two main compounds of humic substances, separately on Fe and Mn homeostasis. Seventy-two male Wistar rats were randomly divided into 9 experimental groups. The control diet (AIN-93G formula) and diets supplemented with 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.4% and 0.8% HA or FA were fed for 26 days. Fe and Mn concentrations of the large intestinal content, liver, kidney, femur and hair were determined. No significant differences were observed in the production parameters. The effects of FA and HA on iron homeostasis were significantly different. FA proved to be a good iron source, and slightly increased the iron content of liver and kidney, but — up to a dietary iron level of 52.7 mg/kg — it did not influence the efficiency of iron absorption. Above a dietary iron level of 52.7 mg/kg down-regulation of Fe absorption can be assumed. HA significantly stimulated the iron uptake and there was no down-regulation of Fe absorption up to 0.8% dietary HA supplementation level (61.5 mg Fe/kg diet). In the HA groups the iron content of the liver and kidney decreased significantly, suggesting that in spite of the better Fe absorption, the HA—Fe complex does not provide iron to the investigated organs. Neither FA nor HA supplementation influenced the Fe content of the femur and hair and slightly decreased the Mn concentration in the large intestinal content. This effect was significant (with a 22.7% Mn concentration decrease) only at the HA supplementation rate of 0.8%. Neither FA nor HA influenced significantly the Mn concentrations of the liver, kidney and femur. The Mn concentration of the hair in rats receiving FA- or HA-supplemented diets was higher than in the control rats; however, this result needs further confirmation.

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Authors: András Bersényi, Erzsébet Berta, István Kádár, Róbert Glávits, Mihály Szilágyi and Sándor Fekete

To study the effects of high dietary molybdenum (Mo) content, rabbits were fed with commercial pellets and carrots containing 39 mg Mo/kg dry matter (DM) [Experiment 1] and with a commercial diet supplemented with 40 mg Mo/kg DM [Experiment 2] for 14 days. The high dietary Mo contents failed to reduce the growth performance of rabbits. Moreover, supplemental Mo given in a dose of 40 mg/kg non-significantly decreased the apparent digestibility of crude protein (CP) and crude fibre (CF) compared to the control (73.63 ± 2.49 and 18.56 ± 5.10 vs. 74.31 ± 3.03 and 21.38 ± 6.48, respectively). Molybdenum ingested with feeds was mainly excreted (57%) via the urine. The highest Mo levels were found in kidney and liver samples (3.464 ± 0.872; 5.27 ± 0.95 mg/kg DM [Experiment 1] and 1.878 ± 0.283; 1.62 ± 0.16 mg/kg DM [Experiment 2], respectively), and Mo could also be detected in limb meat (0.336 ± 0.205 mg/kg DM). It was stated that the testes were more sensitive to Mo exposure than the female reproductive organs because the number of germ cells was reduced. Due to the high dietary Mo intake free radicals could be generated, resulting in a marked increase of creatine kinase (CK) activity.

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Authors: József Lehel, János Gál, Sándor Faragó, Erzsébet Berta, Emese Andrásofszky, Sándor Fekete, Míra Mándoki, Péter Budai, Éva Kormos and Miklós Marosán

Mercury and lead concentrations were measured in the livers of cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis), an aquatic bird species living and nesting in the special, highly protected nature conservation area of Kis-Balaton, Hungary. The measurements of metal concentrations were performed by atomic absorption spectrometry using the cold vapour method for mercury and the electrothermal method for lead. Mercury concentrations in the livers were significantly higher in the adult population (4.479 ± 3.336 mg/kg dry matter, DM) than in the juvenile birds (2.682 ± 2.087 mg/kg DM), indicating an increase of bioaccumulation with age. A similar pattern was not observed for lead. There were no statistical differences between males and females either in mercury or in lead concentrations. The average levels of mercury (3.580 ± 2.906 mg/kg DM) and lead (0.746 ± 0.499 mg/kg DM) were statistically different in the liver. No correlation was found between the concentrations of the two heavy metals. Recently, the wild birds have been chronically exposed to subtoxic amounts of metals which have a tendency to accumulate especially in the soft tissues.

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