A survey by feed additive manufacturer Biomin shows that mycotoxin levels in feed ingredients have remained elevated in most regions of the world during the first half of 2017.

The BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey involved over 33,000 analyses performed on 8,452 samples of raw commodity samples and finished feeds sourced from 63 countries between January and June this year.

Two mycotoxins were most prevalent across the world – deoxynivalenol (DON) in 81% of all the samples and fumonisins (FUM) in 71%.

The survey found the most common mycotoxins found in maize (corn) were FUM (90%), followed by DON (84%) and zearalenone (ZEA) at 49%. For soya, DON was most prevalent at 79%, followed by ZEA (73%), T-2 toxin (39%) aflatoxins (38%) and FUM (26%).

Dr Timothy Jenkins, mycotoxin risk management product manager at Biomin advises: “Trends in finished feed risk tend to match corn risk over time due to the prominence of this ingredient in animal feed. The corn risk varies by region with fumonisins issues more common in warmer conditions, whereas deoxynivalenol was more common in cooler regions.”

Turning to soya, he notes “a marked increase in the mycotoxin contamination of South American soy and soy by-products in the last year and a half”.

The company says more than three-quarters of the samples tested positive for two or more mycotoxins, which is consistent with the trend noticed in Q1 2017. It warns that certain combinations of mycotoxins are known to have synergistic effects that can aggravate the negative consequences for animals.

 “Subclinical symptoms often related to the main Fusarium mycotoxins – DON, ZEA and FUM – can be difficult to detect, but have a greater economic impact for the industry,” observes Dr Jenkins. “Poorer feed efficiency and low growth rates are associated with the presence of low level multiple mycotoxin contamination.”

Strategies to reduce the mycotoxin risk involve sourcing and feed additives. “Avoid contaminated feed when possible, and pay attention to feed storage conditions,” advises Dr Jenkins. “Despite the most strenuous efforts to prevent mycotoxins from occurring, mycotoxin contamination of feedstuffs still occurs. Proven state-of-the-art strategies that adsorb or deactivate toxins in the intestinal tract of animals offer the most reliable, safe and effective solution.”