A little over 20 percent of the wheat samples from the UK and Ireland are contaminated with the mycotoxin DON. This was shown by a survey from Belgium based feed additives supplier Nutriad, covering 55 samples across all regions of UK and Ireland.
More than 300 analyses were conducted to test for the occurrence of the six mycotoxins most frequently found in agricultural commodities intended for animal production. The survey provides an insight into the incidences of aflatoxins (Afla), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 toxin, fumonisin B1 (FB1) and ochratoxin A (OTA) across all regions of the UK and Ireland.
All analyzed samples were wheat. Typically, wheat levels of DON and zearalenone tend to be lower in northern England and Scotland; moderate in western England, Wales and Ireland and highest in southern and south-eastern England. All 55 samples were collected almost immediately after the harvest and the probability that some storage mycotoxins will have developed (OTA) was low. Wheat samples were sampled directly from farms or animal feed production sites.
All six mycotoxins were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC MS/MS). For the purpose of data analysis, non-detection levels were based on the limits of quantification (LOQ) of the test method for each mycotoxin: AfB1 < 0.5 μg/kg; ZEN < 10 μg/kg; DON < 75 μg/kg; FB1 < 125 μg/kg; OTA < 1 μg/kg and T-2 toxin < 4 μg/kg. The survey shows that 22% of wheat samples were contaminated with DON and none of the samples contained AfB1. Only 2% of samples contained OTA and FB1 but this result was expected as it is well known that OTA is a typical storage mycotoxin and FB1 is preferably produced on maize. The average concentrations of all recovered mycotoxins were low while the highest concentration of DON found in one of the samples reached only 280 μg/kg. Although 9% of the samples contained T-2 toxin, a mycotoxin extremely toxic for poultry, its maximum concentration reached only 11 μg/kg and this level is negligible. Read more about mycotoxins in the AllAboutFeed Managing Mycotoxins edition.