Trouw Nutrition's Mycotoxin Survey: Jan to Aug 2020

Friday, September 25, 2020

Trouw Nutrition's Mycotoxin Survey: Jan to Aug 2020

Swamy, H.V.L.N and Ellen van't Veer-Luiten, Trouw Nutrition Netherlands; Kai-J. Kühlmann, Trouw Nutrition Thailand; Avinash Bhat, Trouw Nutrition India


Unseasonal rains, humid weather with high temperatures, drought, insect damage to crops, and insufficiently managed storage conditions can cause huge amounts of feed raw materials to rot away. This can lead to omnipresent parasitic or saprophytic growth of molds on feed raw materials with increasing mycotoxin contamination thus affecting feed and food security.

Molds produce secondary metabolites, mycotoxins, as defense against insect predation or competing microbes. Six mycotoxins, aflatoxins (AF), deoxynivalenol (DON), fumonisins (FBs), ochratoxin A (OTA), T-2 toxin (T2/HT2), and zearalenone (ZEN), out of more than 500 mycotoxins ingested through feed have been studied extensively for their impact on animal health and performance. In the field, animal producers are challenged many times with poor FCR, retarded growth, and high mortality. There is mounting international regulations on mycotoxins to protect human and animal health.

The presence of multiple mycotoxins today, particularly in complete feed, is a rule and not an exception. When occur together, many mycotoxins act in a synergistic or additive manner inside animal's body leading to unexpected and high toxicity. Unlike microbes, mycotoxins are heat resistant and survive common feed processing operations such as pelleting and extrusion. As a result of all these, the exposure of animals to mycotoxins is unavoidable today and hence prevention strategies should be applied at crop production, feed production and at animal facility levels.

Trouw Nutrition's customer-driven Feed Safety Program's with Mycotoxin Risk Management Program as one part, allows animal producers to handle omnipresent mycotoxin challenges, has expanded to an online database (Figure 1). In this program, the main six mycotoxins in feed raw materials and processed feeds are analyzed by the onsite Mycomaster toolkit thereby, enabling customers to constantly monitor and control their mycotoxin risk in feed raw materials and finished feeds. Considering multiple mycotoxin risk contaminations at all growth stages of intensely farmed animals, Trouw Nutrition mycotoxin binders adsorb and/or remediate mycotoxins from feeds for best animal performance and customer profitability. While the highly purified smectite clays reduce mycotoxins' bioavailability in the gastrointestinal tract, selected glucose-biopolymers, combined with exposed β–glucans, remediate multiple mycotoxins that are difficult to bind, inhibit gut villi inflammations, reinforce intestinal barriers and stimulate the digestive immune system.

In April 2020, the outcome of all the samples analyzed through Mycomaster from January to December 2019 was published in many national and international magazines. In continuation of this effort, samples analyzed from January to August 2020 were also evaluated for relative percent (%) contamination and mycotoxin concentrations. A total of 15,293 analysis were carried out for the 6 major mycotoxins (Table 1) and the sample analysis specifically from Asia region were 1,236.


Mycotoxin Distribution in Global Samples

Out of the various samples analyzed globally for mycotoxins, it was observed that AF had a mean concentration of 5 ppb (Figure 2). The average concentration of DON out of the 3,066 samples analyzed was 500 ppb. This concentration was slightly higher than 500 ppb for FBs levels. The mean concentration of ochratoxin was almost similar to aflatoxin with a level of 5 ppb, though the amount of samples analyzed for aflatoxins was 8 times than that of ochratoxins. T2/HT2 and Zearalenone had mean concentrations of 10 and 50 ppb, respectively.

The spread of the mean concentrations of mycotoxins across the various continents is as shown in Figure 3. Of the various continents, Asia had the highest concentration of AF (>10 ppb), FBs (near to 5,000 ppb), OTA (10 ppb) and lowest levels for T2/HT2 (<0.2 ppb). Mean levels of 1,000 ppb of DON were observed in Africa and North America. North America also had highest mean concentration of 100 ppb for ZEN. Europe had the highest mean concentrations of 50 ppb of T2/HT2, when compared to others, and had the lowest concentrations of AF (5 ppb), DON (50 ppb), OTA (5 ppb) and ZEN (50 ppb). When compared to other continents, South America had the lowest concentration of OTA (4 ppb). The highest spread was seen for T2/HT2, which varied from 0.2 ppb to 50 ppb, the lowest been in Asia, and highest in Europe. The other continents like North & South America and Africa were in the range of 6 to 8 ppb, for T2/HT2.

Mycotoxin distribution in Asian Samples

Fumonisins were the most common mycotoxins as 90% of the samples tested contained quantifiable amount of mycotoxins. This was followed by DON, ZEA, OTA and Aflatoxins which were all found in around 70% of the samples. The presence of T-2 toxin was quite low (2%). The analysis for five Asian countries is given in Table 2 and although multiple mycotoxins were present in all the countries, the distribution of mycotoxins was quite different. For example, the major mycotoxins in Indian samples were AF, FBs and OTA while in China DON and FBs were the major ones.

In terms of mycotoxin concentration distribution, FBs occurred at highest concentrations followed by DON and ZEN (Figure 4). This is expected as these toxins generally occur at higher concentrations in grains and then contributing to complete feeds. The raw material import from Northern Hemisphere contributes to high levels of DON and ZEN. Although AF, OTA and T-2/HT-2 were present at low concentrations (<10ppb), they can be toxic to monogastric animals.

All the raw materials and complete feeds contained multiple mycotoxins (Table 3). The highest AF was found in poultry feed followed by dairy feed, whereas highest DON and ZEA were found in by-products followed by protein sources, such as soybean meal. Highest FBs were found in poultry feed followed by cereal grains, while highest OTA was present in protein sources followed by poultry feed. These findings clearly suggest that presence of multiple mycotoxins is a rule and not an exception today and protein sources do contribute to mycotoxin load in complete feeds.


Similar to our 2019 survey, samples in 2020 survey showed the presence of multiple mycotoxins in different parts of world. Specifically in Asia, fumonisins are the major mycotoxins coming from locally grown raw materials, while deoxynivalenol and zearalenone seem to be contributing from imported grains to the complete feed. Unlike the normal understanding, protein sources do contribute to mycotoxins in the complete feed specifically deoxynivalenol, zearalenone and ochratoxin A.



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Article made possible through the contribution of Swamy, H.V.L.N and Ellen van’t Veer-Luiten, Trouw Nutrition Netherlands; Kai-J. Kühlmann, Trouw Nutrition Thailand; Avinash Bhat, Trouw Nutrition India