Exploring How Curcumin Can Counteract Toxin Effects in Fish Muscles

Jim Crocker
13th May, 2024

Exploring How Curcumin Can Counteract Toxin Effects in Fish Muscles

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Sichuan Agricultural University studied the effects of the toxin OTA on fish muscle development
  • Curcumin, found in turmeric, was identified as a substance that can counteract the muscle growth inhibition caused by OTA
  • The study used both lab cell cultures and live fish to show that curcumin can support healthy muscle development despite OTA presence
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin that can be found in a variety of food sources, including aquafeeds, posing a serious health threat to both animals and humans who consume contaminated products. In aquaculture, OTA contamination is particularly concerning as it can lead to growth retardation and damage to the intestinal barriers in fish, as evidenced by studies in juvenile grass carp[2]. This toxin is produced by certain types of fungi that can grow on food and feed ingredients under specific conditions, such as those found during the ripening of dry-cured meats[3]. The risks associated with OTA are not only limited to direct toxicity but also include its potential to cause oxidative stress and disrupt the gut microbiota, leading to further health complications[4]. In response to these challenges, researchers from Sichuan Agricultural University have recently conducted a study to explore the developmental toxicity of OTA and to identify a natural substance that could mitigate its harmful effects[1]. Their investigation led them to curcumin (Cur), a compound found in turmeric, which showed the most promise in counteracting the effects of OTA on myoblast proliferation. Myoblasts are the precursor cells to muscle tissue, and their growth is crucial for maintaining healthy muscle development in animals, including fish. The study focused on two main objectives: to understand the extent of OTA's myotoxicity and to evaluate the protective effects of curcumin against this toxin. Researchers employed both in vitro (test tube or culture dish) and in vivo (living organism) methods to conduct their experiments. In the laboratory, myoblast cells were treated with OTA to observe the toxin's direct effects on cell proliferation. Curcumin was then added to the culture to assess whether it could reverse the negative impact of OTA. The results from the in vitro experiments were promising, showing that curcumin could indeed alleviate the inhibitory effects of OTA on myoblast proliferation. Encouraged by these findings, the researchers moved on to in vivo studies, where they treated live organisms with the toxin and then attempted to counteract its effects with curcumin. The in vivo part of the research provided a more comprehensive understanding of how OTA and curcumin interact within a living system. The findings from this study are significant as they offer a potential solution to the problem of OTA contamination in aquafeeds. By incorporating curcumin into the diets of fish, aquaculture operations may be able to reduce the toxic effects of OTA and support healthier and more robust growth. This could have a direct impact on food safety and the economic viability of fish farming industries. Moreover, the research builds on previous studies that have highlighted the dangers of OTA and the need for effective strategies to mitigate its impact. For instance, previous research has shown that certain fermented foods, like Tibetan kefir, can help alleviate OTA-induced intestinal toxicity in mice[4]. The current study expands on this by identifying another natural product, curcumin, that offers protective benefits against OTA's toxic effects, specifically targeting muscle cells. In summary, the study from Sichuan Agricultural University has taken a significant step forward in understanding how natural substances like curcumin can be used to combat the harmful effects of OTA. This research not only contributes to the body of knowledge on mycotoxin mitigation but also provides practical applications for improving the safety and quality of aquaculture products. While further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms by which curcumin exerts its protective effects and to confirm its efficacy in different species and environmental conditions, the study offers a promising avenue for reducing the risks associated with OTA contamination in the food chain.

BiotechAnimal ScienceMarine Biology


Main Study

1) Unveiling the emerging role of curcumin to alleviate ochratoxin A-induced muscle toxicity in grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella): in vitro and in vivo studies

Published 12th May, 2024


Related Studies

2) Effects of Dietary Ochratoxin A on Growth Performance and Intestinal Apical Junctional Complex of Juvenile Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella).


3) Effects of environmental conditions and substrate on growth and ochratoxin A production by Penicillium verrucosum and Penicillium nordicum: Relative risk assessment of OTA in dry-cured meat products.


4) Protective effects of Tibetan kefir in mice with ochratoxin A-induced cecal injury.


Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙