What are Mycotoxins and what are the solutions?

26 August 2020

Lauren Judd discusses the effects of Mycotoxins and the solutions on offer

What are Mycotoxins?

There are several different mycotoxins, causing different symptoms and they naturally occur all around us. One mould species can produce several different mycotoxins and several different mould species can produce the same toxin! There are more than 300 mycotoxins in existence of which +/- 10 are known to be toxic to animals and humans. Usually ingested via an infected substrate with the most popular being grain and silage.    

Mycotoxicosis is the umbrella term used to refer to all of those diseases caused by the effects of toxins produced by moulds. Disease is often subclinical and may be difficult to diagnose as the disease produces a wide variety of clinical signs. Problems occur worldwide as moulds and the 7 most popular mycotoxins will grow from 0 degrees Celsius and upwards.

Clinical signs vary depending on the variety of mycotoxin, the dose ingested and the period of exposure. So high levels of toxin over a short period of time can exhibit the same signs of illness as low levels of toxin eaten over a longer period of time. Symptoms can be diarrhoea accompanied by weight loss, immunity suppression, vomiting, reproduction problems being the most widely seen but not exhaustive list.  

It is hard to think of a clinical sign that mycotoxins could not be implicated in. In severe cases, a presumptive diagnosis may be based on the history, signs and lesions, however diagnosis is difficult.  Mycotoxins are suspected as having a part to play in some disease issues seen but proving their involvement can almost be impossible.

How can they be prevented?

Trouw Nutrition believe in a 3 pillar approach to tackle mycotoxins in their Toxo range; binding, intestinal health, immune status.

Binding is a broad spectrum mycotoxin solution. Smectite clay has a large surface area for binding, and its chemical structure has cations present which characteristically form strong bonds with Aflatoxins thus allowing the animal to pass them out in faecal matter. Trouw also adopts selective binding so as not to interact and bind with vitamins or minerals.

Intestinal protection is provided using glucose biopolymers to increase gut wall integrity and help to prevent gut wall cells being compromised. Antioxidants reduce damage of gut wall cells.

Immune protection is provided using activated β glucans to actively increase immune response and decrease bacterial colonisation around gut wall cells. While antioxidants also help the animal to detoxify small proportions of mycotoxins present.

Solutions

Trouw nutritions product portfolio range starts with our most basic binder Toxo MX and ranges up to Toxo XXL which includes all the previously stated functions with added vitamins to support the liver.

Lauren Judd is our Feed Additives (Feed Safety) Product Manager.