Saturday, 09 December 2017 12:55

Mouldy feed threatens animal health

Written by  Pam Tipa
Identifying and addressing mycotoxin challenges is important for animal health and producer profits. Identifying and addressing mycotoxin challenges is important for animal health and producer profits.

Mycotoxins threaten animal health and producer profits, so identifying and addressing these hidden challenges is important for farmers.

The Alltech 37+ test now identifies five extra mycotoxins that can threaten animal health and producer profitability. 

The testing is available to New Zealand farmers, but it is done in Ireland, an Alltech NZ representative says. At least 140 samples have been sent from NZ with interesting results.

Alltech claims to be a world leader in mycotoxin management and says it can test for at least 40 different mycotoxins in animal feed samples.

With this new analytical capability, the company can detect new mycotoxins and help farmers understand how these may impact animal performance and health.  

Alltech 37+ test results provide a realistic picture of contaminants in feed ingredients or total mixed rations. This can help speed up the process of diagnosis. Alltech laboratories in Lexington, Kentucky, and Dunboyne, Ireland, they have run nearly 20,000 samples, each searching for at least 37 mycotoxins. 

Mycotoxins are natural substances produced by moulds. All natural materials and many man-made ones may be contaminated by moulds and, when temperature and moisture are conducive, these fungi proliferate and may produce mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of moulds, so they are not produced by mould all the time, but most commonly when the mould is ‘stressed’ -- sometimes as a form of defence. Mould stressors may include drought, excess moisture and plant disease.

Although stressful conditions that lead to mycotoxins are unavoidable in the natural world, actions are possible to minimise the risk to animals.

Mycotoxins are also toxic, i.e. they can harm animal health via contaminated feedstuffs, causing loss of performance and profits.

To learn more, visit

Infamous five

Researchers have recently found five more mycotoxins of concern to farmers. These and their symptoms are:

• Citrinin: kidney damage, oxidative stress, gut health challenges, diarrhoea/loose manure

• Beauvericin: oxidative stress, antimicrobial activity, contamination of milk/meat

• Moniliformin: heart damage, immune suppression, loss of performance

• Citreoviridin: vitamin B1 deficiency, immune suppression, oxidative stress, poor reproductive performance, reduced weight gain Cyclopiazonic acid:

• GIT damage, oxidative stress, immune suppression, loss of performance.


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