Mycotoxin screening

Mycotoxin screening

The Mycotoxin Screen tests for a range of mycotoxins.

Toxins tested:

Aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, G2, Fumonisins B1, B2, Deoxynivalenol, Nivalenol, HT2, T2, Ochratoxin A, Zearalanone and Vomitoxin.

Species: Sheep, cattle, horses, dogs, pigs, chickens

Specimen: Silage, grain in yellow top pot; Pasture in paper bags

Special handling for pasture:  

Using shears or scissors, cut a handful of pasture leaves from about 1 cm above ground level from at least five places, which are at least 10 m apart, and submit in paper bags not plastic bags so as to avoid ” plant sweating”.

Collection Protocol:    The feed needs to be as representative as possible to the feed that was being fed at the time of the problem occurring.

General information about the diseases:

Zearalenone is produced by several species of Fusarium fungi. It is an oestrogenic mycotoxin that causes infertility in sheep and pigs and has been incriminated as a cause of infertility in cattle. Most Fusarium growth occurs in late summer and autumn at the base of pasture on dead leaf litter and in poorly stored grain. Green and growing grasses are less affected.

Tricothecenes are thought to be involved in some cases of ruminant ill thrift. The toxins are produced by Fusarium and other fungal species.  

NIV and DON usually infect grain, especially maize, and may cause a problem in pigs fed such maize. The effects are dose related:

  • < 5mg/kg is associated with feed refusal and decreased weight gain.
  • > 5 mg/kg can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, abortion, nervous signs and death.

T2 toxin is is predominantly associated with mouldy maize and is mostly a problem in pigs and poultry. In pigs, besides ill thrift this toxin can also cause an irritant contact dermatitis.

Aflatoxin is a member of the bisfuranocoumarin group of compounds, produced as metabolites mainly by Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus and Penicillium puberulum. Sheep and adult cattle are quite resistant to the toxin, horses moderately resistant whereas dogs, pigs and calves are sensitive and may be fatally intoxicated at a dose rate of <1 mg/kg body weight. Colonisation and toxin production can occur in grains such as maize, cottonseed and peanuts in all phases from growth through harvest. They can be produced in peanuts, soybeans and other small grains mainly during storage. Toxin production is encouraged when warm, moist ambient conditions are combined with crop damage (drought or storm).