Transfer of arsenic from poultry feed to poultry litter: A mass balance study

S. K. Gupta, X. C. Le, G. Kachanosky, M. J. Zuidhof, T. Siddique, Transfer of arsenic from poultry feed to poultry litter: A mass balance study, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 630, 2018, Pages 302-307, ISSN 0048-9697,

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Roxarsone (rox), an arsenic (As) containing organic compound, is a common feed additive used in poultry production. To determine if As present in rox is excreted into the poultry litter without any retention in chicken meat for safe human consumption, the transference of As from the feed to poultry excreta was assessed using two commercial chicken strains fed with and without dietary rox. The results revealed that both the strains had similar behaviour in growth (chicken weight; 2.17–2.25 kg), feed consumption (282–300 kg pen−1 initially containing 102 chicken) and poultry litter production (73–81 kg pen−1) during the growth phase of 35 days. Our mass balance calculations showed that chickens ingested 2669–2730 mg As with the feed and excreted out 2362–2896 mg As in poultry litter during the growth period of 28 days when As containing feed was used, yielding As recovery between 86 and 108%. Though our complementary studies show that residual arsenic species in rox-fed chicken meat may have relevance to human exposure, insignificant retention of total As in the chicken meat substantiates our mass balance results. The results are important in evaluating the fate of feed additive used in poultry production and its potential environmental implications if As containing poultry litter is applied to soil for crop production.