Heavier DON, ZEN and FUM Levels Reported in 2016 US Corn and DDGS: BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey

In total, 387 corn samples and 79 distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) samples were sourced from across the US in 2016. A full 90% of corn samples and 100% of DDGS samples tested positive for at least one mycotoxin.

Higher risk

“The mycotoxin threat was higher in 2016 than in 2015,” stated Dr Raj Murugesan, Technical and Marketing Director of BIOMIN America. “Deoxynivalenol (DON), fumonisins (FUM) and zearalenone (ZEN) in particular present a potential risk to livestock animal production. This gives greater importance to regular monitoring of feed, crops, and silages,” he added.

2016 US corn highlights:

  • Deoxynivalenol saw slightly higher occurrence at 75% (72% in 2015) and average contamination levels at 1670 ppb (691 ppb in 2015).
  • Fumonisins’ prevalence reached 72% (52% in 2015) with an average contamination level of 4424 ppb.
  • Zearalenone became much more prevalent at 42% (17% in 2015) while the average contamination also made a jump to 412 ppb from 247 ppb in 2015.

“All three major toxins (DON, FUM, and ZEN) have an increased prevalence in US corn harvested in 2016 in comparison to 2015,” said Dr Erika Hendel, Swine Technical Manager at BIOMIN.

2016 US DDGS highlights:

  • All 79 DDGS samples tested positive for deoxynivalenol, averaging 2681 ppb.
  • Fumonisins and zearalenone were very prevalent at 88% and 71% of samples, respectively.

“96% of DDGS samples had more than one mycotoxin present in 2016,” noted Dr Paige Gott, Ruminant Technical Manager at BIOMIN.

“Rainfall during corn’s silking period along with warmer average temperatures are likely to have contributed to greater Fusarium fungi growth,” explained Dr Murugesan. Fusarium fungi can produce several mycotoxins including deoxynivalenol (DON), fumonisins (FUM) and zearalenone (ZEN).

Impacts on animals

The presence of mycotoxins is associated with poorer feed quality, impaired animal performance and health challenges.

“Certain combinations of mycotoxins are known to have synergistic effects,” warned Dr Murugesan. “That means a magnified negative impact to animals, even at reasonably low levels.”

Recent research has shown that either deoxynivalenol or fumonisins or their combination, even at concentrations allowed under European and US guidelines for mycotoxins, can worsen the incidence and severity of necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens.

About the survey

The annual BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey constitutes the longest running and most comprehensive survey of its kind, using advanced analytic tools on more than 16,000 samples taken from 81 countries worldwide. Over 60,000 analyses were conducted to identify the presence and potential risk posed to livestock animal production.

For 2016 in the United States, a total of 387 corn samples sourced from over 26 different states and 79 DDGS samples sourced from 14 different states were analyzed in 3 different labs (Romer Labs Inc., USA; Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Iowa State University, USA; Activation Laboratories, Canada) in order to identify the presence and potential risk posed to livestock animal production by six major mycotoxin groups. The survey results provide an insight on the incidence of aflatoxins (Afla), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol (DON), fumonisins (FUM), T-2 toxin (T-2), and ochratoxin A (OTA).