"DON may not be as toxic to pigs as fumonisin and zearalenone, but it's still highly damaging and is by far the most prevalent mycotoxin found within pig feeds, feed ingredients and even straw bedding," he explained. "Past analysis by Micron Biosystems, for example, found DON in nearly every feed sample where mycotoxins were detected. Mycotoxins like DON also rarely occur in isolation, and the presence of multiple mycotoxins will often act additively or even synergistically."
Produced by the Fusarium moulds that infect growing cereal crops, DON inhibits protein synthesis within the pig. Damage to the gut lining reduces nutrient digestion and utilisation, leading to poor feed intake, live weight gain and feed conversion efficiency with both immune function and fertility (litter size) also often compromised.
DON is particularly challenging to neutralise, and traditional clay-based binders alone have limited effect. What's needed are additional active ingredients - such as the Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived yeast components and extracts in Ultrasorb S - that can physically transform the DON molecule, rendering it harmless or more easily bound.
The species-specific nature of the threat also needs to be considered, with pigs potentially exposed to as much as seven times the mycotoxin load (per kilogram of bodyweight) as poultry. It highlights just how important it is to use deactivators specifically designed to counter the nature and level of the mycotoxin threat faced by pigs, Dr. McIlmoyle concluded.