Mould growth can occur in the field as well as during processing and storage of harvested products and feed. The key to controlling mycotoxins is prevention. The use of mycotoxin inhibitors, mycotoxin binders, a safe harvest and safe storage are all methods to safe-guard against mycotoxins.
A mycotoxin is a toxic secondary metabolite produced by organisms of the fungi kingdom, commonly known as moulds. The term ‘mycotoxin’ is usually reserved for the toxic chemical products produced by fungi that readily colonise crops.
Not all moulds produced mycotoxins. However currently, over 300 mycotoxins have been identified. Click here to read about the most significant mycotoxin types found in animal feed.
Mould inhibitors are feed additives used to minimise mould contamination and prevent mould growth, thereby minimising the risk of having mycotoxin-producing moulds proliferate in grain or feed. Feed additives commonly used for this purpose include propionic acids and other organic acids.
Mycotoxin binders or adsorbents are substances added to animal feed in small quantities that bind to ingested mycotoxins and prevent them from being absorbed through the gut and into the animal’s blood stream. Some materials are better at binding than other for example; silicate, clays, yeast and charcoal.