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BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey Q3 2021 Results

This is a review of the occurrence of major mycotoxins between January and September 2021. In total, 76,300 analyses were conducted on 16,164 finished feed and raw commodity samples originating from 74 countries.

BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey Q3 2021 Results

North America

Risk in North America stays severe with deoxynivalenol (DON) being one of the main concerns in all commodities. This mycotoxin was present in 68% of all samples (average of positives 1,049 ppb).

Corn kernels are highly affected by DON and fumonisins (FUM). DON prevalence is 69% with a high average concentration of positive samples of 1,302 ppb. However, in corn, FUM has the highest prevalence (73%) and reaches an average concentration of 2,450 ppb. Average contamination level is also increased for zearalenone (ZEN) with 268 ppb and 32% prevalence 32%, as well as aflatoxin (Afla) (65 ppb), which is found less frequently (7%).

Finished feed samples also contain levels of Fusarium toxins that can be harmful for livestock. DON, FUM and ZEN are present in 81%, 64% and 29% of the samples, respectively. Levels are lower than in corn but still high: on average 846 ppb (DON), 1,840 ppb (FUM) and 162 ppb (ZEN).

North America (USA & Canada)

Central America

In this region risk decreased slightly but is still severe. FUM and DON are most frequently found (in 73% and 68% of all samples, respectively). Average concentration in all positive samples found reaches 929 ppb for FUM and 409 ppb for DON. In corn from Central America, FUM is present in 95% of all samples and average levels are elevated (1,474 ppb), but a bit lower than in North America. Mexican corn seems to be more severely affected. FUM is found in almost all samples (94%) and the average concentration exceeds 2,000 ppb (with an extreme maximum found: 34,916 ppb).

South America

Risk in this region stays severe. Fusarium mycotoxins are the most prevalent, with FUM present in 66% of all samples, followed by DON (46%) and ZEN (40%). Aflatoxin was found in 28% of the samples (average of positives 7 ppb). Risk to livestock is mainly due to DON but also FUM concentrations. Corn shows high prevalence of FUM (83%, average of positives 1,618 ppb) and DON (47%, average of positives 519 ppb).

Interestingly in soybeans, the most prevalent mycotoxin found is ZEN (61%), followed by T-2, a trichothecene, (49%) and Afla (46%).

Latin America


Risk in Europe ranges from moderate to high. The most prevalent mycotoxin is again DON (52%), followed by ZEN (46%) and FUM (40%). DON is the main threat to livestock, particularly for swine and poultry.

Highest levels of DON have been detected in wheat grains. In this commodity every second sample contained this mycotoxin at a high average of 1,147 ppb and a maximum concentration of 42,925 ppb. Concentrations are even higher in Central Europe (average of positives, concentration of DON is 1,557 ppb). These high levels are mainly due to samples from this year`s harvest, which shows hot spots of high contamination with DON in wheat and barley in some European countries. In Central Europe, all barley samples from January to September show presence of DON in almost every third sample at an average concentration of 629 ppb.


Asia Pacific

Risk is extreme in South Asia, China and Taiwan. In Southeast Asia and East Asia risk is severe. Compared to the same time period last year (January-September 2020), abundance of Afla, ZEN, DON, FUM and T-2 stayed almost the same and is very high for FUM, DON, ZEN but also for Afla. Ochratoxin A (OTA) increased its prevalence from 17% to 23%. 

Corn stays heavily affected with a very high abundance of Fusarium toxins (FUM 90%, DON 80%, ZEN 71%) and high average concentrations of these three mycotoxins (FUM 1,824 ppb; DON 1,041 ppb and ZEN 234 ppb). Co-occurrence is high: 94% of all samples contained more than one mycotoxin. In corn also Afla is a threat to animal health, as it is found in 26% of the sample at an average of 92 ppb.

While in China/Taiwan and East Asia Fusarium toxins are the main concern, Aflatoxins are the second most prevalent mycotoxins found in all samples from Southeast Asia (58% with an average of positives of 32 ppb). In South Asia, Afla is the most abundant toxin detected in 79% of the samples (average 45 ppb), followed by OTA (72%) and FUM (70%).

In Oceania, risk of mycotoxin contamination continues to be moderate.

Asia & Oceania

Middle East

The Middle East shows severe risk, mainly due to the high abundance of Fusarium toxins. Most abundant in all samples is FUM (90%), followed by ZEN (65%), DON (58%) but also Afla (27%). Risk to animal species is mainly due to DON and ZEN (average of positives 734 ppb and 110 ppb, respectively). Finished feed samples show a high co-contamination: all samples analyzed contained more than one mycotoxin.

Middle East


In Sub-Saharan Africa, risk is severe. Fusarium mycotoxins are highly abundant: DON is present in 81% of the samples and thus increased in abundance compared to the same time period last year (January to September 2020: 75%).  FUM is the second most prevalent mycotoxin, present in 51% of the samples, followed by ZEN in 44%. DON is the highest concern for livestock, average of positives is elevated with 548 ppb. Finished feed shows a high co-occurrence of different mycotoxins with 90% of the samples containing more than one mycotoxin.

South African corn shows particularly high abundance with DON in corn (90%, average of positives 607 ppb). Corn gluten samples from this region are heavily contaminated with DON, FUM and ZEN, all present in 100% of the samples. In this commodity DON reaches 1,483 ppb on average.


Spectrum 380® results

Spectrum 380® is the most comprehensive mycotoxin detection service available. BIOMIN analyzed 618 samples between January and September 2021 using this advanced service. Due to the analytical method that is used (LC MS/MS), this method detects occurrence of not only the well-known mycotoxins, but also emerging mycotoxins and other fungal metabolites that are often not considered in regular analysis, but could still disrupt animal production.

Analysis shows that 26% of the samples contained 60 or more metabolites (per sample). Results for emerging mycotoxins show that Moniliformin occurred in 71% of all corn samples and Aurofusarin in 94% of wheat samples. In finished feed, 97% of samples showed presence of Beauvericin and 94% of Moniliformin. Negative effects of Moniliformin on poultry and rodents have been observed, including damage to the heart muscle and the immune system as well as respiratory distress. Further, decreased feed intake and weight gain was reported. For Aurofusarin, negative effects on poultry have also been observed, ranging from metabolic changes to a decrease in protein and fat content in chicken meat. High doses affected the immune system and decreased fertility. Beauvericin showed toxic effects in laboratory experiments with cell lines, but no acute effects in vivo. However, chronic effects still need to be determined and an impact on the immune system has been suggested.


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