In poultry production, availability of good quality feed is among the prime factors considered necessary for a successful result. The fact that feed plays a vital role in poultry production requires that good quality ingredients be sourced in order to ensure maximum production. The utilization of some feed ingredients e.g. maize and groundnut is limited by the presence of mycotoxins (Ologhobo and Apata, 1990; Udedibe, 1990; D’Mello and Walker, 1991; Nakatsu et al., 1996).
The quality and quantity of each feed ingredient in a diet determine the performance of birds, that is whether a ration is balanced or not which is a function of the active ingredients of the feed.
Despite the numerous benefits of poultry keeping, the practice is being crippled by shortage of feed supplies, rising prices of ingredients, poor quality feeds due to the presence of mycotoxins or anti-nutritional factors, inadequate and unbalanced nutrition and prevalence of diseases among other factors (Fetuga, 1977).
Unfortunately, under our prevalent environmental conditions, most of the ingredients for ration formulation, like cakes or meals from grains such as maize, millet, sorghum, soybean and groundnuts provide a favourable medium for the growth of fungi producing mycotoxins. This had placed a great restriction on the growth of the livestock industry in Nigeria, the success of which depends largely on the availability of good quality and toxin-free feeds particularly for the intensive livestock enterprises (poultry, rabbits and pigs) whose performance depends on the use of concentrated balanced rations. High levels of mycotoxins have been found in market maize samples (Ikeorah and Okoye, 2004). The recent trend in grains market in Nigeria shows that two grades of grains are usually displayed for sales (damaged and undamaged) levels of mycotoxin in most damaged samples are usually high (Ikeorah and Okoye, 2004).