It struck me as very surprising that these organoarsenic compound with structure looking not very compatible with living system is widely used as food additive to increase weight gain and improve food efficiency in poultry. I wonder what is the mechanism of action that causes the effects in these animals?

For instance, here is the structure of one particular additive - Roxarsone:

structure of Roxarsone

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    $\begingroup$ We used to treat a lot of poultry workers around here - before the plants closed down - for coccidial diarrhea. My guess (and why this is not posted as an answer) is that it's added for its anticoccidial actions. Coccidiosis - an intestinal parasite which decreases the effectiveness of ingested nutrients - is the most costly disease threat to poultry production. Keep the poultry intestinal tract healthier => poultry do better. If it's more than this, I'm intrigued. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse May 26 '16 at 17:26

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