5.1. Sampling and culture of intestinal contents
Thirty local chicks over 15 days old and weighed over 100 g, were collected from the villages of Ardabil province, Iran. Sampling was performed by the Convenience Sampling method (Non-random Sampling). Cloacal swabs were taken from intestine content was collected under the aseptic technique, and all samples were sent to the microbiology laboratory. All animal experimental procedures were approved by the Islamic Azad University- North Tehran Branch (Biomedical Research Ethics Committee. Approval ID: IR.IAU.TNB.REC.1400.002). After sampling chickens disinfected with 70% alcohol and betadine, their intestinal contents were collected in sterile plates and diluted with physiological serum. Based on the Karami et al. (2017) method (20), the initial identification of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) was performed by culturing 100 μl of diluted intestinal contents in broth MRS culture medium (Sigma Aldrich 69964) for 96 hrs at 37 °C in anaerobic conditions and finally the colony-forming unit (CFU) was done.
5.2. Identification of Bifidobacterium
Gram staining, catalase, oxidase, capsule, flagella, and spore staining, gelatin hydrolysis, gas, indole, motility in SIM medium, nitrate reduction, oxidative-fermentative, urease, and Simmon citrate assays were used to identify the isolates in the colonies (21).
5.3. Biochemical test of carbohydrate fermentation by Bifidobacterium species
2% solutions of Amylose, Cellobiose, Fructose-6-phosphate, Galactose, Inulin, Lactose, Maltase, Mannitol, Mannose, Melibiose, Raffinose, Ribose, Salicin, Sorbitol, Starch, Trehalose, Xylan and Xylose in glucose-free MRS medium (meat extract (10 g/L), peptone protease (10 g/L), yeast extract (4 g/L), sodium acetate (5 g/L), diammonium citrate (2 g/L), magnesium sulfate (0.2 g/L), manganese sulfate (0.05 g/L), potassium phosphate (2 g/L), tween 80 (1 ml/L) and bromocresol purple (0.05 g/L)) were sterilized separately with a 0.22-micron needle filter (Merck, Germany). Fermentation of carbohydrates was evaluated with bromothymol blue reagent and the media were yellow (weakly acidic solution) or blue (weakly base solution).
5.4. Probiotic activity evaluation
5.4.1. pH Tolerance Test
The selected Bifidobacterium isolate was cultured in MRS broth culture medium with different pHs ranged from 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 and incubated at 37 °C for 48 hrs in anaerobic conditions. The growth of Bifidobacterium was measured with a spectrophotometer at 620 nm.
5.4.2. Bile tolerance test
The Bifidobacterium selected isolate was cultured on MRS broth supplemented with 0.1, 0.3, 0.6, 0.9, and 1.2 % ox gall (pH6) and incubated at 37 °C for 48hrs in anaerobic conditions. The growth of Bifidobacterium was measured with a spectrophotometer at 620 nm.
5.4.3. Salt tolerance test
The Bifidobacterium was cultured on MRS broth supplemented with 2.5%, 4.5%, 6.5%, and 8.5% NaCl and incubated at 37 °C for 48hrs in anaerobic conditions. The growth of Bifidobacterium was measured with a spectrophotometer at 620 nm (21).
5.4.4. Antibacterial activity and selected Bifidobacterium isolate
Antibacterial activities of Bifidobacterium produced metabolite were studied against gastrointestinal pathogens including Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli, and Proteus vulgaricus using disc diffusion method, and the diameters of growth inhibition zone were measured.
5.4.5. Antibiotics resistance
The susceptibility and resistance of isolated bacteria to Amikacin, Fusidic acid, Ampicillin, Erythromycin, Ceftazidime, Amphotericin, and Chloramphenicol antibiotics were also assessed by disk diffusion method.
5.5. Molecular identification
Bacterial DNA extraction was performed using DBA extraction kit (SINACLON, Iran) and their quality was evaluated using the Nanodrop device (Nanodrop 2000c, Thermo Scientific, Waltham, USA). The PCR reaction mixture consisted of Mastermix solution (Yekta Tajhiz Azma, Iran, Cat No: YT1553), enzyme buffer, MgCl2, and four dNTPs nucleotides. The 16S rRNA gene was used for molecular identification. Agarose gel electrophoresis was used to evaluate the accuracy of PCR products and to determine the length of amplified fragments. Gene sequencing was performed at Fanavaran Gene Company (Tehran, Iran) (22).
5.6. In vitro study of the effect of Bifidobacterium and PVP on AFB1
5.6.1. Preparation of the standard AFB1
Aflatoxin B1 purchased from Sigma (Germany) was dissolved in the benzene-acetonitrile organic solvent according to manufacture instructions. Phosphate buffer was used to dilute the sample. To remove the organic solvent, a water bath was used at 80 °C for 15 minutes.
5.6.2. Preparation of aflatoxin from Aspergillus flavus
First, A. flavus (PTCC 5018) purchased from Iran Scientific and Industrial Research Center was cultured in PDB medium in several flasks and incubated at 26 °C for two weeks. To extract aflatoxin from the PDB medium, the contents of each flask were first mixed uniformly. The contents of the flasks were then passed through a Whatman 42 paper filter (with a porosity of 2 to 3 µm). For every 100 ml of filtered solution, 40 ml of chloroform solvent was added and the resulting mixture was stirred in a decanter funnel for 20 min. After 24 hrs, the lower phase containing chloroform solvent and aflatoxin was isolated. The solvent was separated by a rotary apparatus at 45°C under vacuum. The residue was dissolved in 10 ml of HPLC purity methanol solvent and passed through a 0.22 µm nozzle filter. The concentrated sample was stored in a freezer at -20 °C. Then HPLC was performed for qualitative identification and quantitative measurement of AFB1 (23).
5.6.3. Measurement of free and Bifidobacterium bifidum attached aflatoxin B1
Bifidobacterium selected isolate was cultured in broth MRS medium and after a maximum growth of 48 hours (growth was measured by spectrophotometry at 620 nm), the tubes containing the bacteria were centrifuged for 15 minutes at 3000 rpm. Bifidobacterium precipitate was washed 3 times each time with 5 ml of phosphate buffer solution (PBS) and added to 5 ml of standard aflatoxin B1 solution extracted in separate vials. Aflatoxin B1 samples in PBS were used as a control. Falcons were incubated for 72 hrs at 37 °C. The samples were collected at different time intervals (0, 24, and 48 hrs), then each centrifuged for 15 minutes at 4000 rpm. Free aflatoxin was isolated for measurement. Samples were screened with an aflatoxin B1 ELISA kit and the optimal sample was analyzed by HPLC and finally, the percentage of AFB1 bound to yeast was calculated (ELISA kit, ZellBio, Germany) (12, 23).
5.6.4. Measurement of free and PVP-attached aflatoxin B1
The PVP polymer solution was prepared according to international standards and serially diluted. After preparing different dilutions in each vial, 5 ml of standard and extracted AFB1 solution were added in separate vials for 48 hrs at 37 °C. Samples were collected at different time intervals (0, 24, 48 hrs) and then each was centrifuged for 15 minutes at 4000 rpm to measure free aflatoxin and supernatant were screened with aflatoxin B1 ELISA kit and the optimal sample was analyzed by HPLC and finally the percentage of aflatoxin bound to PVP was calculated.
To evaluate the effect of pH, the experiments were conducted at pH 5.5 and 8, and the percentage of polymer adsorption at different pHs was calculated by HPLC.
5.6.5. Measurement of the synergistic effect of Bifidobacterium bifidum and PVP in reducing the aflatoxin B1
Bifidobacterium selected isolate was cultured in MRS broth medium and incubated for 48 hrs. The growth of Bifidobacterium was evaluated by spectrophotometry at 620 wavelength and then the medium centrifuged for 15 min at 3000 rpm. Bifidobacterium precipitate was added to 5 ml of standard and extracted AFB1 solution after washing three times with 5 ml of phosphate buffer solution (PBS). Also, PVP (with the optimal concentration obtained in the previous step) was added to the solution and incubated for 24 hrs at 37 °C. Then centrifuged for 15 min at 4000 rpm and finally, the percentage of aflatoxin bound to bacteria and PVP was calculated by HPLC.
5-7. Statistical analysis
Data were expressed as means± SD. A two-way analysis of variance was used for statistical analysis. SPSS software version 26 was used for data analysis. Tukey's Multiple Range Test was used to compare the means. P <0.05 was considered as a significant level.