Mycotoxin survey: UK, Ireland wheat of medium quality

Mycotoxin survey: UK, Ireland wheat of medium quality

Nutriad says crop should not automatically be considered safe for finished animal feed

The Nutriad 2016 mycotoxin survey concludes that this year’s harvest of wheat in the U.K. and Ireland is of medium quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination, but the situation is much worse than in the past two years. Based on the results of this survey conducted immediately after the 2016 harvest, Nutriad experts believe that this year’s wheat crop in the U.K. 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.

The 2016 Nutriad Mycotoxin Survey covers 66 samples from all over Great Britain and Ireland. More than 500 analyses were conducted to test for the occurrence of the eight mycotoxins most frequently found in agricultural commodities intended for animal production. The survey provides an 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 analyzed samples were wheat.

The results show that 64 percent of wheat samples were contaminated with DON and none of the samples contained AfB1 or FB1. Only 3 percent 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 1100 μg/kg. Although 12.3 percent of the samples contained HT-2 toxin, a mycotoxin extremely toxic for poultry, its maximum concentration reached only 32.2 μg/kg and this level is negligible. None of the samples was contaminated with FB1, but this result was expected as it is well known that FB1 is mostly produced on maize. Only one sample was contaminated with FB2 and OTA. Surprisingly, the results show that 15 percent of wheat samples were contaminated with ZEN and its maximum concentration found in one sample reached 810 μg/kg.

“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,” said Radka Borutova, business development manager at Nutriad. “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 any and all conditions.”