Nutriad: Poland corn not safe for all animal species

Mycotoxin survey shows 70 percent of corn samples contaminated with DON

The corn mycotoxin survey conducted by Nutriad in 2016 concludes that last year’s harvest of corn in Poland is of concerning quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination. Based on the results of this survey, it is the belief that this year’s corn crop should not be considered safe for inclusion into finished feed rations for all animal species.

Nutriad’s mycotoxin survey conducted in Poland showed that almost 70 percent of the corn samples were contaminated with deoxynivalenol (DON) and 65 percent with HT2-toxin. As expected, only 2.2 percent of the samples contained aflatoxin B1 (AfB1). Surprisingly, almost 30 percent of the samples were contaminated with fumonisin B1 (FB1), a typical corn mycotoxin.

Most of the recovered mycotoxins were in concentrations regarded as medium. The highest concentration of DON and T-2 toxin found reached 1900 μg/kg and 327 μg/kg respectively. Thirty-seven percent of the samples contained zearalenone, a mycotoxin that affects reproductive performance in breeding animals. Its maximum concentration reached 1000 μg/kg, a significant level. One sample was contaminated with AfB1, none of the samples were contaminated with ochratoxin A, a known typical storage mycotoxin. One sample was positive for AfB1 but did not exceed the maximum EU permitted concentration of AfB1 in corn.

The 2016 Nutriad Mycotoxin Survey included 46 corn samples collected across Poland. The 46 samples were collected either directly from the farms or from animal feed production sites. Sample providers were advised to follow the principles of good sampling. The analytical personnel and/or laboratory staff were not involved in sampling and, therefore, did not influence any part of this procedure.

More than 320 analyses were conducted to test for the occurrence of the seven mycotoxins most frequently found in agricultural commodities that are intended for animal feed production. All seven mycotoxins were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC MS/MS). For the purpose of data analysis, non-detection levels were based on the limits of quantification (LOQ) of the test method for each mycotoxin: AfB1 < 0.5 μg/kg; ZEN < 10 μg/kg; DON < 75 μg/kg; FB1 < 125 μg/kg; OTA < 1 μg/kg; HT2-toxin< 4 μg/kg and T-2 toxin < 4 μg/kg.

A major agricultural country

Poland is one of Europe’s biggest grain producers and the farming sector has changed dramatically since it joined the EU more than 10 years ago. Poland is also known to be a major agricultural country with corn planted over approximately 700,000 hectares, making it one of the main seed importing countries in Eastern Europe.

Corn in animal feeds originates from many sources and vigilance is always advisable. Corn harvested in 2015 across Europe has been shown to be contaminated with medium 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 the risk of mycotoxin contamination low under any and all conditions.