UK Mycotoxin Update

From January to April 2021, samples from across the UK were analysed for mycotoxins, including silages, grains, and TMR.

Pie chart showing 60% silage, 33% TMR, and 7% grain.

Positive Samples

67% of samples tested positive for at least one mycotoxin.

Mycotoxins rarely occur individually though, and many samples were contaminated with multiple toxins.

Pie chart showing 67% positive samples and 33% negative samples.

Mycotoxin Prevalence

Deoxynivalenol (DON), Zearalenone (ZON), Fumonisin B1, Fumonisin B2, and Ochratoxin A were detected in the samples.

53% of samples were contaminated with DON, which is the most prevalent mycotoxin in the UK.  Fumonisin B1 was the next most commonly detected mycotoxin, contaminating a third of all samples.  DON, ZON, and Fumonisins are all produced by Fusarium moulds.

Ochratoxin A is produced by Aspergillus species.

Bar chart showing mycotoxin prevalence.  53% DON, 20% ZON, 33% FB1, 20% FB2, and 13% OTA.

Average Toxin Levels

On average DON was found at the highest concentrations, with a mean of 719 ppb.  The other toxins had mean values as shown.

Bar chart showing mean mycotoxin levels in feed samples.  DON at 719ppb, ZON at 24ppb, FB1 at 88ppb, FB2 at 93ppb, and OTA at 92ppb.

The detected concentrations are lower than the regulatory limits for mycotoxins in animal feeds, but not lower than the levels known to cause productivity issues.

DON can cause gastrointestinal problems and feed refusal - reducing the energy available for growth and milk production.

Zearalenone can cause issues with fertility and milk production.

Fumonisin is known to cause issues with the liver and kidneys in ruminants as the rumen has less ability to degrade Fumonisins than other mycotoxins.

Because acute symptoms are unlikely to present themselves, it is important to test feed materials to identify your own risk from mycotoxins.


Rob F Apr 27, 2021

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