The study was aimed at correlating the protein quality of weaning formula with the amelioration of heavy metal toxicity. Wistar albino rats were variously administered borehole water samples, Aba River water samples, simulation experiment (deionized water incorporated separately with lead, cadmium and arsenate) water samples (negative control) and deionized water (positive control). Two weaning formulae viz: SGMC (prepared at 20% dietary protein level) and Rd (prepared at 16% dietary protein level) were fed to the experimental animals. Aba River and borehole water samples had abnormal levels (mg/l) of arsenate (0.25±0.01 to 0.3±0.02), cadmium (0.05±0.001 to 0.11±0.005) and lead (0.17±0.02 to 0.24±0.02), significantly higher (p<0.05) than the World Health Organization (WHO) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) limit values, but were significantly reduced (p<0.05) by boiling and filtering processes of water treatment to meet the WHO and USEPA standards. Growth performance (-25±3.5 to 92±1.2 g), PCV (%) (31.2±0.05 to 50.50±0.05), serum albumin (g/dl) (2.31±0.01 to 4.01±0.05) and NPU% (65±0.03 to 95.01±0.02), were recorded of the diet groups of experimental animals. Regression of serum albumin (g/dl) and NPU%, of SGMC diet group, was significant (p<0.05), with Pearson’s moment correlation coefficient of 0.9875. Toxicity of heavy metals reduced significantly (p<0.05), the performance characteristic of weaning formulae. SGMC weaning formula showed significant (p<0.05) efficiency, in ameliorating the toxicity of heavy metals more than the Rd weaning formula.
Key words: Heavy metal toxicity, simulation experiments, weaning formulae, performance characteristics.
SGMC, Weaning formulae prepared at 20% dietary protein, with processed soya bean seeds, groundnut seeds, maize seeds and catfish, diet group; Rd, Nutrend-Nestle®, weaning formulae industrially prepared at 16% dietary protein, diet group; Bd, basal diet (hypothetical protein-free diet), diet group; RRW, water sample sourced from Aba River [untreated (surface) river water], diet group; TRW, water sample sourced from Aba River (boiled and filtered-tap river water), diet group; RBW, water sample sourced from water borehole in Aba metropolis (untreated borehole water), diet group; TBW, water sample sourced from water borehole in Aba metropolis (boiled and filtered-tap borehole water), diet group; Pb, deionized water incorporated with 0.2 mg lead/liter, diet group; Cd, deionized water incorporated with 0.2 mg cadmium sulphate/liter, diet group; As, deionized water incorporated with 0.2 mg arsenate/liter, diet group; DW, deionized water (reference/control water sample), diet group;PCV, packed cell volume; NPU, net protein utilization.
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