With nearly 500 known mycotoxins, interactions between toxins can make diagnosis difficult, and it can be further complicated by the presence of masked mycotoxins in animal feed. These complications can lead to an underestimation of certain mycotoxins by up to 88 percent, explaining why analyzed animal feed can show low levels of mycotoxins but still be problematic, according to research presented at Alltech's first North American Mycotoxin Management Summit in Lexington, Kentucky, USA.
More than 65 members of the animal feed industry attended “Making Sense of the Maze... New Strategies for Old Problems,” where attendees learned about advances in mycotoxin research and analysis, as well as learned about Alltech's Mycotoxin Management Program.
“In the last two decades, advances in technology have altered our view of mycotoxin issues in the food chain. We now know it is a mycotoxin complex, and we have a better understanding of the physiological and pathological effects of mycotoxins” said Dr. Karl Dawson, chief scientific officer at Alltech.
In his presentation, “Mycotoxin Research, 20 Years and What Have We Learned,” Dawson discussed how researchers are now able to detect a greater number of mycotoxins with the use of LC-MS/MS methodology; can provide a risk assessment based on the mycotoxins that are found as they relate to the particular species being fed; and determine the correct mitigation strategy through balanced nutrition and the development of functional carbohydrates.
In addition to increased detection and assessment in the laboratory, researchers have also identified more risk factors at the farm level. According to Randy Asher, Animal Science Consulting, conditions such as stress (environmental, overcrowding and comfort), disease, diet and stray voltage can magnify a mycotoxin problem.
Johanna Fink-Gremmels, Utrecht University, noted that mycotoxins continue to be a concern for both animals and humans. “On the global scale we have to learn we need to deal with mycotoxins. We will never get rid of them. We have to be prepared that the sudden incidence of mycotoxins in grains will not be infrequent,” she said.
Speakers also touched on preparation and the necessity for producers and feed mills to implement a mycotoxin management program utilizing Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points-based principles. Speakers also said the industry needs to understand pre- and post- harvest mycotoxin contamination and identify hazards as well as potential control points for mitigation.
An entire track on mycotoxins will also be hosted at GLIMPSE 2020: the 29th Annual Alltech International Symposium in Lexington, May 19-22.