Pigs are the farm animals most sensitive to mycotoxins. Aflatoxins suppress the immune system, but the first sign of aflatoxin contamination in food is a decrease in feed intake. The clinical symptoms range from reduced growth to hepatosis and death, depending on the degree of contamination.
Effects on Pig Health
Among the trichothecenes, deoxynivalenol and T-2 toxin are the most relevant for the pig industry. T-2 toxin inhibits feed intake, while deoxynivalenol also decreases feed intake, slowing pig growth, and also causing vomiting. Ochratoxins are both hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic and simultaneously cause other chronic toxicities. Reduced growth, decreased weight gain, and kidney lesions are symptoms of ochratoxin poisoning. Zearalenone mainly causes estrogenic effects in pigs. In pregnant sows, the incidence of abortions and stillbirths increases. In non-pregnant sows, feed contamination leads to swelling and reddening of the vulva, incorrect heat and incorrect pregnancy. Fumonisins target the liver, lungs and pancreas and cause pulmonary edema in pigs.
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Identify risks so you can use the best strategy
From field to forage, mycotoxin production is a cumulative process. It is controlled by several factors, the most important being the climatic conditions and agronomic practices during the cultivation. However, each mycotoxin has its own developmental pattern, so the contamination of plants is different every year, both in terms of quantity and type of mycotoxin. This means that risk is omnipresent and constantly changing.
There are several ways to identify mycotoxin risk. Plant contamination prediction is available through prediction models such as MycoMan Predict, which Adisseo and Syngenta developed in collaboration. Harvest surveys provide analytical values for mycotoxins in maize and wheat, both after harvest and before storage. These two tools determine the risk of mycotoxin contamination for the entire coming year and allow corrective action to be taken. For example, contaminated batches can be discarded or diluted in the feed mill.
There are 2 types of mycotoxin tests available:
- Rapid test kits (mainly for raw materials) or
- Laboratory tests (for finished feed)
Rapid test kits deliver results in minutes, but they do not recognize masked mycotoxins. When used in raw materials, key ingredients with inclusion rates below 5-10% can be overlooked. Small inclusions with high levels of contamination can result in significant contamination of the finished feed. For example, grain by-products such as DDGS or bran are often more contaminated than the original grain. Analytical methods, including thin layer chromatography (TLC), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and immunosensor-based methods, can identify a wide variety of mycotoxins and have been widely used for rapid screening. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection (FD) and mass spectrometry detection (MS) are typically used for confirmatory and reference purposes.
The MycoMan Mobile App is a simple method of assessing mycotoxin exposure for a specific group of animals and is used to calculate the dose of mycotoxin deactivator required to effectively control mycotoxins. Photo: Adisseo
While it is important to know the levels of any mycotoxin exposure, this data alone will not help the feed manufacturer decide what to do. It is important to conduct a full mycotoxin risk assessment to establish a comprehensive mycotoxin management program.
Mycotoxin risk assessment is the scientific assessment of the likelihood of known or potential adverse health effects resulting from exposure of animals to mycotoxins. This can be achieved with the MycoMan Mobile App.
MycoMan Mobile App
MycoMan provides an easy way to assess mycotoxin exposure for a specific group of animals and is used to calculate the dose of mycotoxin deactivator required to effectively control mycotoxins. This fast, easy-to-use mycotoxin management tool complements information from mycotoxin analysis and helps feed and animal manufacturers manage mycotoxins for better animal health and performance.
The addition of mycotoxin binders / deactivators to diets contaminated with mycotoxins is seen as the most promising nutritional approach to reducing the negative effects of mycotoxins.
An effective mycotoxin deactivator should adsorb polar mycotoxins (such as aflatoxin) and bioinactivate non-absorbable mycotoxins (such as trichothecenes). It should be able to assist animals in metabolizing and detoxifying mycotoxins, which are metabolized very rapidly and can escape adsorption and even biotransformation in the body. For this reason, adding mycotoxin deactivators to ingredients to aid immunity, the antioxidant system, and health during mycotoxin exposure is key to optimal protection. At Adisseo, we believe that understanding each manufacturer’s situation through a holistic approach is the best way to deal with mycotoxins and thus protect animals.
The MycoMan Mobile App is available in the Apple and Play App Store.
Julia Dvorska, PhD,
Global Scientific Manager for Mycotoxin Management, Adisseo