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It is well recognized that mycotoxins contaminating feed and raw materials can
have strong, negative impact on the efficiency of animal production.
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by molds. There are about hundred
species of fungi showing ability produce these toxins, and usually typical, average
temperature and humidity is sufficient to initiate process of toxins production.
The more humid and warmer the conditions – more intensive mycotoxin production.
The contamination with moulds starts already in field, during plant growth, continue
during harvest and further storage. Mycotoxins being ingested via contaminated
feed show the toxicity to animals, and the risk of problems at certain contamination
levels differs and depends on the animal age, health and immune status, stress
pressure and environmental factors which determine the individual sensitivity for
mycotoxins effect. Therefore it is impossible to define “safe level” of mycotoxins,
being additionally aware of the synergistic and cumulative effect of different toxins
which usually are not alone in raw materials.
Mycotoxins negatively influencing animal health and productivity:
Aflatoxins – AF, B1, B2, G1, G2, M1 – metabolites of Aspergillus fumigatus
and A.parasiticus. Aflatoxin B1 is the most occuring one and is konwn as a potential
cancerogenic agent. Aflatoxins at higher concentration affects immunity system,
nutrients/ minerals availability, lowering weight gains and feed efficiency.
The rawmaterials originated from crops of subtropical and tropical areas are
the most common source of aflatoxins.
Trichotecenes (DON, T-2) – metabolites of Fusarium species.
Loss of appetite, feed refusal, digestive disorders, vomiting,diarrhoeas, lession on
the mouth and tongue are typical symptoms related to trichotecenes presence in
feed. They also affect fat metabolism, reducing eg. vitamin E concentrations in
Ochratoxins – toxins produced by Aspergillus and Penicillium species. Birds
are the most susceptible animals to this toxins.Toxicity is demonstrated by
pathological changes in kidneys affected excretion mechanisms, lower immunity
response against bacterial and viral infections. These mycotoxins influence also
negatively Fe availability, increasing the risk of anaemia.
Zearalenone – potent estrogenic metabolite synthesised by Fusarium species,
often responsible for infertility, abortions, uterus and rectal prolapse – especially in
swine.Young gilts are more susceptible than mature pigs. Other symptoms related to
zearalenon presence in feed are:false heat,higher prenatal mortality,reduced
conception rate,lower semen quality,splayleg in piglets.Birds are more tolerant to
Fumonisins – toxins produced by Fusarium species.
FB1 is the most prevalent in contaminated corn and is belived to be the most
toxic. Although lower fumonisin levels result in subclinic symptoms,however higher
concentrations may cause pulmonary inflamations,liver and kidneys damage leading
often to animal death.
Mycotoxins should be considered as a potential primary factor resulting in
animal production losses and increased risk of disease. Mycotoxicosis often disables
definite correct diagnosis while affecting immune response leading to higher risk of
different diseases, in this – pathogenic infections. The methods of preventing feed
against mycotoxins are still not effective, the only solution is mycotoxnis
decontamination in the digestive track of animal.