Mycotoxin levels in animal feed on the rise

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

64% of wheat samples from Great Britain and Ireland were found to be contaminated with the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol
64% of wheat samples from Great Britain and Ireland were found to be contaminated with the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol
The level of mycotoxins found in UK and Irish wheat has increased over the past two years, according to a new survey. 

The 2016 Nutriad Mycotoxin Survey covers 66 samples from all over Great Britain and Ireland, with more than 500 analyses conducted to test for the occurrence of the eight mycotoxins most frequently found in agricultural commodities intended for animal production.

The survey provided insight into the incidences 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 wheat.

The results showed that 64% of wheat samples were contaminated with DON and none of the samples contained AfB1 or FB1. Only 3% of samples contained T-2 toxin and such low incidence of contamination was not expected. The average concentrations of all recovered mycotoxins were medium, while the highest concentration of DON found in one of the samples reached 1,100 μg/kg.

Although 12.3% of the samples contained HT-2 toxin, a mycotoxin extremely toxic for poultry, its maximum concentration reached only 32.2 μg/kg, which is deemed to be negligible.

Only one sample was contaminated with FB2 and OTA. The results showed that 15% of wheat samples were contaminated with ZEN and its maximum concentration found in one sample reached 810 μg/kg.
Nutriad believes that despite being below the EU action levels, this year’s wheat crop in the UK and Ireland should not automatically be considered safe for inclusion into finished feed rations for all animal species, and a degree of vigilance is prudent.

Radka Borutova, business development manager at Nutriad, said: “Vigilance is always advisable in any case as cereals in animal feeds originate from many sources and some continental European cereals and South American soya harvested in 2016 have been shown to be contaminated with medium to high concentrations of mycotoxins.

“The last possible line of defence is the detoxification of mycotoxins in vivo. The addition of proven mycotoxin deactivators to animal feeds is a very common method to prevent mycotoxicosis and is an effective strategy to keep mycotoxin risk low under any and all conditions.”

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