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Transfer of ochratoxin A during lactation: exposure of suckling via the milk of rabbit does fed a naturally-contaminated feed

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The transfer of ochratoxin A from the blood to the milk of lactating rabbit does and subsequently the exposure of their sucklings to the mycotoxin were investigated. An effective transfer of ochratoxin A from blood to milk was shown in lactating rabbit does fed a naturally-contaminated diet (10-20g/kg of body weight/day) throughout a lactation period of 19 days. The ochra-toxin A concentrations in plasma and in milk did not significantly change throughout the lactation period with a mean milk/plasma concentration ratio of 0.015. These variables were however significantly correlated (p < 0.05), as were the ingested amounts and milk concentrations. At slaughter, the highest concentration of ochratoxin A accumulated in the body of the rabbit does were found in kidney (1.2 g/kg) followed by liver (158ng/kg), mammary gland (105ng/kg) and muscle (38 ng/kg). A linear relationship was found between the ochratoxin A concentrations in milk and in the plasma of the sucklings, indicating an effective transfer of the toxin to the sucklings. If the same is true in humans, the exposure of the breast-fed infant to the toxin, which has been largely reported in the literature, should be a major matter of concern for human health.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2000

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