Question 1: “How does Mycofix® prevent vitamin adsorption from feed?” asks Methni from Tunisia.
The issue here is referred to as unspecific binding, meaning that the adsorptive material binds to vitamins and other nutrients—preventing them from being used by animals and effectively reducing the quality of the feed.
The bentonite present in Mycofix® was carefully selected in an extensive project involving the BIOMIN Research Center and IFA Tulln. More than 300 substances including different clays, mannan oligosaccharides (MOS), hydrated sodium aluminosilicates (HSCAS), etc. were tested through a series of checkpoints that involved stability and adsorption tests at different binder/toxin concentrations, toxicity of material, binding specificity, and adsorption in simulated gastrointestinal conditions.
In the binding specificity checkpoint, adsorbents were chosen for their selectivity in binding mycotoxins—meaning that they adsorbed mycotoxins but not vitamins or other nutrients.
This method represents the state of the art for the selection of binders and played a major role in obtaining EU registration for technical feed additives to counteract the negative effects of mycotoxins.
Question 2: “How effective are mycotoxin binders?” asks Jimoh from Nigeria.
Not all clays bind in the same way, and even not all bentonites bind in the same way. We believe that the European Union Reference Laboratories (EURL) method is the best benchmark for evaluating mycotoxin binders.
Adsorption, or binding, is an effective method against aflatoxins due to the structure of the molecules. Aflatoxins have a flat chemical structure and can be trapped between the layers of bentonites, in the same way a slice of meat sits between two slices of bread in a sandwich. Once the mycotoxin enters the binder layers, the electric forces generated by the atoms of both compounds tightens the bond.
Legally speaking, only aflatoxin binding claims are authorized in the EU. To a lesser extent, adsorption is an effective strategy for ochratoxin A (OTA) and ergot alkaloids too.
The less flat chemical structure of other mycotoxins like deoxynivalenol (DON) or zearalenone (ZEN) results in less effective adsorption, which is why we recommend a broad spectrum approach to mycotoxin risk management.
Question 3: “What are the best management techniques to prevent mycotoxins?” asks Mary from Uganda.
Proper prevention is always a good strategy to reduce –though not eliminate– mycotoxins.
It is important to remember that mycotoxins are produced both on the field and during storage. Common practices such as crop rotation, tillage, sanitation of storage areas and harvesting equipment and storage of grains at low humidity will help to reduce fungal growth and consequent storage mycotoxin production.
However, the production of field mycotoxins is largely driven by environmental factors such as climate and plant stress. Here, we advise adopting a robust mycotoxin risk management program that includes regular monitoring of feed and raw materials for mycotoxins, along with the use of a registered mycotoxin deactivator with proven efficacy and safety.
Question 4: “Are fumonisins (FUM) a concern in broilers?” asks Fausto in the United States.
Yes. Even at levels below guidance or regulatory maximums, mycotoxins such as fumonisins and deoxynivalenol aggravate the incidence and severity of coccidiosis. So there’s a reason to consider mycotoxin risk management in the context of an antibiotic reduction strategy.
Over the last 15 years, scientific research has revealed alarming ways that fumonisins interact with birds’ immune and digestive systems. Recent studies published last year highlight the danger in the context of synergistic interactions with deoxynivalenol (DON) and in the presence of pathogen challenge.
Fumonisins are poorly absorbed by poultry and as a consequence they stay longer in contact with the gastrointestinal cells. It is known that deoxynivalenol and fumonisins interfere with several vital functions of cells, and disrupt intestinal cells that act as a barrier between pathogens and the birds’ bodies. Disrupted intestinal cell components can be used as a growth substrate for pathogens such as Eimeria, Clostridium and E. coli. In this way, these mycotoxins play a main role as ‘gate openers’ favoring pathogen colonization throughout the host.
Join the discussion
As a reminder, you can connect to either of the two live mycotoxin webinar sessions on February 8, 2017 at 8am and 4pm Central European Time from your computer. Attendance is free—registration is required. Join us, and send us your questions.