Thursday, 22 September 2016

How to Determine Safe Levels of Mycotoxins

Even after using the best quality control systems in the world, animal farmers often find themselves stuck with mycotoxin contaminated grain or feed. The first question that comes to mind is: are the levels of mycotoxin found in feed safe for the animals or do they need to  discard the whole batch. Before going into the details, we need to know the affect of mycotoxins on animals. This helps to determine whether the levels of mycotoxins can cause harm to the animals.

Chemical Class and Structure
There are about 500 types of fungi that cause mycotoxins to be present. These belong to different chemical classes and each of them affects the animals that consume them differently. Apart from that, the exact chemical structure of the mycotoxin and the binder inclusion rates are also important in order to reduce the toxicity levels.

Number of Mycotoxins Present
It has been noticed that in the majority of cases two or more mycotoxin contamination’s occur simultaneously. This can affect the toxicity levels of the mycotoxins that are present.

Species and Strain of Animals Affected by Mycotoxins
There are some animals that are more sensitive to mycotoxins whilst there are others that are less sensitive to it. Genetic improvement in farm animals also play a role in the kind of sensitivity that they show to mycotoxin viruses.

Health of the Animals
The stress levels, physiological state, nutritional levels and disease status of the animal  needs to be determined in order to find out the response in their body to certain levels of mycotoxins present in the feed.

Number of Animals Affected
Different numbers of animals need to be infected in order to judge the level of effect. Thus, the growth rate needs to be determined in order to determine the level of toxicity in the animals.

Sampling Procedure
The sampling procedure followed for the collection of the virus needs to be accurate as this is the basis on which the affect of the toxicity of the animal feed is determined.

Length of Time the Animals has been exposed
The tolerance levels to mycotoxins are determined by the exposure to the mycotoxin virus in the animals. The risk of harm to the animal is increased with increase in exposure time.

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