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Nutriad: High DON, ZEN, FUM levels in Poland corn

The Nutriad 2017 mycotoxin survey concluded that the year’s corn produce in Poland was of poor quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination.

Photo by Andrea Gantz

The Nutriad 2017 mycotoxin survey concluded that the year’s corn produce in Poland was of poor quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination. This is comparable with the results from 2014. Based on the results of this survey, which was conducted immediately after the 2017 harvest, the year’s corn crop in Poland should not automatically be considered safe for inclusion into finished feed rations for all animal species. A degree of vigilance is prudent.

The 2017 Nutriad Mycotoxin Survey included 81 corn samples from across Poland. All samples were collected almost immediately after the harvest from farms or animal feed production sites. More than 480 analyses were conducted to test for the occurrence of the seven mycotoxins most frequently found in agricultural commodities intended for animal production. The survey provided an insight into the incidences of aflatoxin B1 (AfB1), ochratoxin A (OTA), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin and fumonisins (FUM).

The results showed that 100 percent of the corn samples were contaminated with DON and 94 percent with ZEN. Seventy-two percent of the samples contained FUM. None of the samples were contaminated with OTA. The average concentrations of all the recovered mycotoxins were medium (>LOQ but below EU recommendation levels). However, the maximum concentration of T-2 toxin/HT-2 toxin detected by this survey was 932 μg/kg, which is several times higher than the maximum recommended concentration of T-2 toxin in unprocessed corn of 200 μg/kg set by the Commission regulation 165/2013. The highest concentration of DON detected in one of the samples reached 3510 μg/kg. The average concentration of ZEN, a mycotoxin affecting fertility performance of all animal species, peaked at 257 μg/kg which is high, especially for sows and piglets. As expected, the results showed a significantly high average concentration of DON, 1198 μg/kg.

Several samples were concurrently contaminated with two to four mycotoxins, which may lead to synergistic interactions. The maximum concentration of FUM toxin found in one of the corn samples was 4920 µg/kg. This high concentration is unusual in Poland and may have a significant effect on the health and performance of farm animals, especially swine and horses. Only 5 percent of samples were contaminated with low levels of aflatoxin B1.

Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of molds that have adverse effects on humans, animals and crops that result in illnesses and economic losses. The worldwide contamination of foods and feeds with mycotoxins is a significant problem. Aflatoxins, ochratoxins, trichothecenes, zearalenone, fumonisins, tremorgenic toxins, and ergot alkaloids are the mycotoxins of greatest agro-economic importance. Some molds can produce more than one mycotoxin and some mycotoxins are produced by more than one fungal species. As much as 20 percent of the world’s cereal grains are generally known to be contaminated with measurable levels of mycotoxins. Multinational feed additives producer Nutriad released its’ latest mycotoxin survey, based on more than 480 analyses of corn across Poland. The results of the survey serve as guidance for Polish producers when determining their mycotoxin management strategy for the new year.

Vigilance is always advisable as cereals in animal feeds originate from many sources. Some continental European cereals and South American soy harvested in 2017 have been shown to be contaminated with medium to high concentrations of mycotoxins. The last possible line of defense 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 all conditions.

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