What are Mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by certain fungi that can cause serious health issues in both animals and humans.
Animals are some of the essential assets in a farm’s production workflow. They provide a continuous supply of fresh milk, meat, and eggs, and they help farmers increase profitability by improving herd health and productivity.
Unfortunately, the animals also bring problems. Feed infections are a significant threat to animal health and productivity, and the damage they cause can be challenging to detect without the right tools.
How do you test mycotoxins in the feed?
Mycotoxins are often detected in feed, but there are other ways to detect them. You can sample your animals’ feed and analyze the samples yourself at the most basic level. This is an excellent way to determine if any issues need to be addressed, such as high levels of mycotoxins or if your animals are eating the average amount of feed. You can also have a mycotoxin testing company test your feed for a fee.
Farmers can detect infections in feeds in several ways, including residue testing, and grain testing. Residue testing is the most effective way to detect mycotoxins in feed, but it is also the most expensive.
Grain testing effectively detects toxins and infections in animal feed, but it is not as accurate as residue testing.
How to protect farm animals from feed contamination
One of the best ways to protect your animals’ productivity is to ensure that your feed is free of toxins. This is relatively easy, as toxins do not survive the feed manufacturing process with mycotoxin binders. Using a mycotoxin test, you can verify that your feed is free of toxin infections. Most feed manufacturers will have test results online or on their packaging.
Feed contamination is a severe issue for farmers, and it can also be a problem for ranchers. Feed contamination can reduce your animals’ productivity, which means you will have to feed them more to produce the same amount of meat, milk, eggs, or other animal products.
In addition, feed contamination can also cause health problems in your animals, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and even death.
Types of Mycotoxin
The four most common mycotoxins in animal feed are aflatoxin, fumonisin, ochratoxin, and zearalenone. Each of these mycotoxins interferes with the production of specific amino acids, reducing the productivity of animals. Aflatoxin, fumonisin, and ochratoxin can also cause liver damage, which reduces the productivity of animals even further. Zearalenone interferes with the health of animals, reducing their productivity and sometimes even killing them.
What are the symptoms of mycotoxins?
Feed contamination can have a variety of effects on animals. Some mycotoxins have no impact on animals, while others may cause subtle symptoms. More severe symptoms can include: reduced fertility, liver damage, decreased milk production, diarrhea, stunted growth and even death. Unfortunately, the symptoms of mycotoxins are often confused with other diseases, which can delay treatment.
Mycotoxin has a unique mechanism of action. It can affect the health and productivity of animals in several ways, including reducing the animals’ immune system, causing allergic reactions, impacting the animals’ behavior, and affecting their reproductive systems. They can also cause problems for humans who consume animal products that contain mycotoxins.