Drought conditions from 2015 to 2016 have resulted in the lower production of essential crops, especially maize and soybeans. This led to increased stress on crops during growing, which may increase the risk of mycotoxin production. Additionally, as there is also a need for imported raw materials to meet demands due to reduced production from the drought season within southern Africa. Having these raw materials transported from further away and stored for a longer time period, increases the risk of mycotoxin development. Thus some strategies to help cope with the current challenges are needed.
What are they?
Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by fungi, like moulds, yeasts and mushrooms. Mycotoxins are naturally produced by many different types of fungi/moulds. The fungi spread by means of spores, which they produce, and are then carried via wind or via water to different areas where they will grow under the right conditions. Mycotoxins are produced both in the field when crops are growing (fungal spores are often found in the soil), and also during the storage of raw materials and feeds. Fungi grow by decomposing nutrients from plants or other products in their surroundings and are very tough, surviving almost any conditions. Mycotoxins cannot be seen or smelled in raw materials or feed, and so many remain undetected. They are also not destroyed by heat and so will still be present in pelleted feeds.
When eaten by animals, mycotoxins may cause various detrimental effects, depending on the level of the toxins in the feed.
Within Africa the most common mycotoxins are Zearalenone, Fumonisins and Deoxynivalenol/Vomitoxin. Aflatoxin is also notable as it can be carried over into milk products and consumed by humans.
What are the symptoms?
Most mycotoxins affect liver and immune function. Symptoms range from poor production/performance to death, depending on the type animal and how healthy it is. Animals under stress have been shown to be more sensitive to mycotoxins, however, all species can be affected.
Prevention and control strategies
Many different options have been tested to treat raw materials and feed for mycotoxins. There is no quick fix or easy solution to control mycotoxins and a multi-step process is normally the best and safest option.
- Raw materials with high levels of mycotoxins should be restricted in animal feeds to prevent problems.
- Raw materials that are very contaminated can be mixed with clean raw materials to lower the total level of toxin in the product (dilution). This is, however, difficult to perform successfully as most toxins tend to form in clumps within raw materials, leaving some spots highly saturated and others not.
- One of the most popular and successful options is the inclusion of a mycotoxin binder into animal feeds to prevent the toxins from being absorbed by the animal, and thus reducing the possible negative effects.
What is Kemins’ answer to mycotoxin problems?
Toxfin, a broad spectrum mycotoxin binder specifically designed to allow for mycotoxin binding at varying pH levels to ensure strong binding throughout the gastro-intestinal tract. Toxfin contains two dipolar clays, possessing both positive and negative charges simultaneously. These two clays also possess different dipolarities at different pH levels and create a strong combined binding affinity and retention over a range of pH levels. The combination of activated clays, as well as the selection of clays, provide a multi-layered dipolar net to enhance adsorption capabilities and binding area. This provides a surface area of 300m² per gram of Toxfin.
Binding affinity is generated by ionic attractions between negative and positive charges of both the mycotoxins and activated clays, resulting in safe excretion of the mycotoxins bound to Toxfin. The large surface area available also maximises the potential binding opportunities within the feed.
- Broad range binding efficacy
- Large surface area for binding (300m² per gram Toxfin)
- High adsorption as well as retention of bound mycotoxins at various pH levels
- No binding of nutrients (safe)
- Reduction of potential negative effects of mycotoxins in livestock
Research Trial Data
For more information, contact Johan Schieke (Associate Product Manager) :