Nutriad: UK, Ireland wheat safe for inclusion in feed

2015 Mycotoxin Survey shows crop is of very good quality

The 2015 Nutriad Mycotoxin Survey concludes that this year’s harvest of wheat in the U.K. and Ireland is of very good quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination. Based on the results of this survey conducted immediately post-harvest, this year’s wheat crop may be considered safe for inclusion into finished feed rations for all animal species.

The 2015 Nutriad Mycotoxin Survey covers 66 samples of wheat from all over Great Britain and Ireland. More than 460 analyses were conducted to test for the occurrence of the seven mycotoxins most frequently found in agricultural commodities intended for animal production.

The survey provides an insight into the incidences of aflatoxins (Afla), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin, fumonisin B1 (FB1) and ochratoxin A (OTA) across all regions of the U.K. and Ireland. All analyzed samples were wheat.

Typically, levels of DON and zearalenone tend to be lower in northern England and Scotland, moderate in western England, Wales and Ireland and highest in southern and south-eastern England. All samples were collected almost immediately after the harvest and the probability that some storage mycotoxins will have developed (OTA) was low. Wheat samples were sampled directly from farms or animal feed production sites.

Sample providers were advised to follow the principles of good sampling. However, analytical personnel and/or laboratory staff were not involved in sampling and, therefore, did not influence any part of this procedure. 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; T-2 toxin < 4 μg/kg and HT-2 toxin < 4 μg/kg.

The results show that only 4.5 percent of wheat samples were contaminated with DON and none of the samples contained AfB1. Only 3.03 percent of samples contained T-2 toxin and ZEN. The average concentrations of all recovered mycotoxins were low while the highest concentration of DON found reached only 107.14 μg/kg. Although 12.12 percent of the samples contained HT-2 toxin, a mycotoxin extremely toxic for poultry, its maximum concentration reached only 24.7 μg/kg and this level is negligible. None of the samples were contaminated with OTA or FB1, but this result was expected as it is well known that OTA is a typical storage mycotoxin and FB1 is preferably produced on maize.

Vigilance is always advisable, as cereals in animal feeds originate from many sources, and some continental European cereals harvested in 2015 have 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 mycotoxin risk low under any and all conditions.