Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are toxins produced by mushrooms, moulds and yeasts. If maize or grain for example is badly stored, fungus may grow on it and may produce mycotoxins. If this contaminated grain or maize is fed to animals, it may cause severe problems (death, fertility problems etc).

Introduction

Mycotoxins are a severe problem in the animal feed industry, as 25% of the world grain is contaminated with one or more mycotoxins. Besides the suffering of the animals, great economic losses are the consequence. Many companies therefore often mycotoxin binders, products that absorb these toxins from the feed. Most of these mycotoxin binders are based on clay. Also organic acids are often added to the feed to kill or inhibit the growth of mycotoxins (because of the reduction on pH).

Different mycotoxins

Aflatoxins are produced by the common soil microorganism Aspergillus flavus. This mould is prevalent among feeds in the southern U.S., particularly in corn, but may occur in other grains when conditions are hot and dry, growing best between 30 and 40°C. A. flavus commonly grows during the storage of summer crops, but can also affect wheat and barley. Aflatoxins may be produced within 2 to 6 weeks of infestation. Read more

Mycotoxins in pigs

Feed that is contaminated with mycotoxins is a serious risk for pig producers. A pig that has consumed aflatoxins does not exhibit characteristic clinical signs. Symptoms may include feed refusal, reduced growth, paleness and jaundice. The latter is an indication of liver damage which may occur at levels above 100 ppb in the feed. Feed refusal may be observed at levels as low as 20 ppb, depending on the variety of aflotoxin. Symptoms of fumonisin poisoning may be observed at levels above 10 ppm and include pulmonary edema and liver damage. Read more

Mycotoxins in poultry

Mycotoxicosis is difficult to diagnose as symptoms are very common (Table 2) and affect more than one organ. Although large doses of mycotoxins are needed to kill a broiler, contaminated feed can greatly reduce broiler performance resulting in serious economic losses for broiler producers. The synergy between different types of mycotoxins has deleterious effects on the birds. Read more

Mycotoxins in ruminants

The effects of mycotoxins in cattle may vary from reduced weight gains or milk production, according to information from the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural affairs. Read more

Mycotoxins in horses

Although the effects of mycotoxins in horses are not well documented in scientific literature, reports from practice may show a different picture. Mycotoxins have been implicated with various horse health problems, including decreased appetite, colic, abnormal liver function, hypersensitivity, neurological disorder, and brain lesions. Read more

Mycotoxins in pets

When we include more cereals in dry pet food the risk of mycotoxicoses also increases. Most obviously affected are dogs and cats, but mainly because cases are identified. Read more

Mycotoxins in aquaculture

The contamination of feeds and raw materials by mycotoxins is increasing on a global basis. While the effect of mycotoxins is well known in most terrestrial farm animals the effect of mycotoxins on aquaculture species has not been studied extensively. Nevertheless, several studies reported pathological signs of mycotoxin poisoning in fish and shrimp species which can cause economic losses to the industry. Read more

Different mycotoxin binders

The best method adopted till date to control the mycotoxins in animal feed is the use of clayey soil of specific nature. These clays have the capacity to bind mycotoxins in the GI tract, avoid their absorption and ensure their elimination. Read more

Mycotoxin test kits

Procedures for sampling and submitting grains and feeds for laboratory analyses are important in confirming the presence of mycotoxins. It is crucial that representative samples be collected. Small samples of grain or complete feed should be taken at periodic intervals from a moving auger stream. Below some companies that offer mycotoxin testing or test kits. Read more

Companies selling mycotoxin binders

Below we have listed a few producers and ingredient companies and some other useful web links. The list is not complete however, if your company is missing please send us an email (info@allaboutfeed.net). Read more

Internal links

Dealing with mycotoxins Read more

External links

A list of external links Read more

The consequences of mycotoxins in aquaculture

The contamination of feeds and raw materials by mycotoxins is increasing on a global basis. While the effect of mycotoxins is well known in most terrestrial farm animals the effect of mycotoxins on aquaculture species has not been studied extensively. Nevertheless, several studies reported pathological signs of mycotoxin poisoning in fish and shrimp species which can cause economic losses to the industry. By Pedro Encarnação. Read more