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Nutriad tests European wheat for mycotoxins

The wheat in Poland and the UK and Ireland can be considered of good quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination. The French wheat was of medium quality. This is according to data from animal nutrition company Nutriad.

The 2018 NutriAd mycotoxin survey looked at the incidence of aflatoxin B1 (AfB1), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 toxin/HT-2 toxin, fumonisin B1 (FB1), fumonisin B2 (FB2) and ochratoxin A (OTA). All samples were collected directly from farms or animal feed production sites almost immediately after the harvest when the probability that some storage mycotoxins such as ochratoxin A (OTA) will have developed was low.

Aspergillus, Fusarium and Claviceps species of fungi are ubiquitous in nature and under ideal conditions, often infect crops and forages in the field, during storage, shipment and processing. Photo: Shutterstock
Aspergillus, Fusarium and Claviceps species of fungi are ubiquitous in nature and under ideal conditions, often infect crops and forages in the field, during storage, shipment and processing. Photo: Shutterstock

Nutriad has released the results for Poland, France and the UK & Ireland and these are as follows:

Poland: Low levels of ZEN

The survey included 66 wheat samples from across Poland. The results showed that 38% of the wheat samples were contaminated with DON. Only 1.5 % of samples contained ZEN, an unexpectedly low level of contamination. The average concentrations of the recovered mycotoxins were low. The highest concentration of DON found in one of the samples was 247 μg/kg. As expected, the results showed that 1.5% of wheat samples were contaminated with OTA and the highest concentration found in a single sample was 12 μg/kg. The results also showed that 5% of samples were contaminated with T-2/HT-2 toxin and the highest concentration reached 56.6 μg/kg. None of the samples contained AfB1, FB1 and FB2. The levels of DON and ZEN contamination in wheat in 2018 were much lower than in 2017 and 2016. However, the average concentration of samples contaminated with DON and ZEN was comparable with 2017. In 2016, slightly more mycotoxins were detected (DON, ZEN, T-2/HT-2 and FB2) compared to 2018 where only 4 mycotoxin types (DON, ZEN, T-2/HT-2 and OTA) were detected. This is why Nutriad concludes that the wheat harvest was of good quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination.

France: High levels of DON

The mycotoxin screening survey included 30 wheat samples from France. The results showed that 97% of the wheat samples were contaminated with DON. The average concentration of DON was medium; 636 μg/kg (>LOD but below EU recommended levels). The maximum concentration of DON found in one of the samples was 4260 μg/kg. None of the samples contained AfB1, OTA, ZEN, T-2/HT-2 toxin, FB1 and FB2. The survey concluded that the wheat harvest in France was of medium quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination.

Great Britain and Ireland: Good quality harvest

The survey covered 50 wheat samples from across Great Britain and Ireland. The results show that 28% of wheat samples were contaminated with DON and none of the samples contained AfB1, ZEN, T-2 toxin, HT-2-toxin nor FB1 and FB2. The average concentrations of all identified mycotoxins were low while the highest concentration of DON found in 1 of the samples reached only 131 μg/kg. One sample was contaminated with OTA and its concentration was 76.7 μg/kg. Comparing DON and ZEN contamination levels of wheat in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, it is clear that the contamination levels in 2018 are comparable with the levels in 2014 . It was therefore concluded that this harvest of wheat is of good quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination.

References are available on request.

Author: Radka Borutova