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Biomin mycotoxin survey indicates higher mycotoxin risks in corn and feed in 2017

Mycotoxin-related threats to livestock production have risen in most regions of the world over the first quarter of 2017

More than 14000 analyses were conducted on 3715 finished feed and raw commodity samples sourced from 54 countries from January to March 2017 as part of the BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey.

The main trends of the survey are; recent rise in mycotoxin contamination levels observed for corn, finished feed and soy; deoxynivalenol (DON), detected in 80 per cent of samples, is the most prevalent mycotoxin worldwide, followed by fumonisins (FUM), found in 71 per cent of samples; 76 per cent of feed and raw commodity samples contained two or more mycotoxins.

Reported mycotoxin occurrence data has shown that contamination levels in corn and finished feed samples have risen considerably in Europe and throughout the Western hemisphere. Risk levels in Asia remain elevated. 

“Corn, or maize, constitutes a major proportion of animal feed and so trends in finished feed risk tends to match corn risk over time,” explained Dr Timothy Jenkins, Mycotoxin Risk Management Product Manager at BIOMIN. 

The most prevalent mycotoxin in world feed is deoxynivalenol, a type B trichothecene produced by Fusarium graminearum and F. culmorum. Easily observed symptoms include reduced feed intake and feed refusal. Two-thirds of samples contained deoxynivalenol in excess of 150 parts per billion (ppb): the risk threshold for effect on sensitive animals.  

47% of samples contained F. verticillioides-produced fumonisins above 500 ppb: the risk threshold for effect on sensitive animals. Research has shown the combination of deoxynivalenol and fumonisins severely impair vaccine response and gut health. 

More than three-quarters of samples contained two or more mycotoxins. Multiple mycotoxin contamination of feed presents additional problems, as certain combinations of mycotoxins are known to have synergistic effects that aggravate the negative consequences for animals. 

“The main Fusarium mycotoxins are frequently related to subclinical symptoms which are not very obvious on the surface but usually have a greater economic impact for the industry.” observed Dr Jenkins. “The presence of several mycotoxins at low levels can silently impair productivity with poorer feed efficiency and low growth rates,” he added.  

“Avoidance of contaminated feed and attention to feed storage conditions are logical approaches to reducing the mycotoxin risk,” stated Dr Jenkins. 

“However, mycotoxin contamination of feedstuffs occurs despite the most strenuous efforts on prevention. The most reliable approach is to combine prevention and detection with regular application of additives proven to adsorb or deactivate toxins in the intestinal tract of animals,” he advised.