Friday, 4 November 2016

Mycotoxin Symptoms – What You Should Know!

Mycotoxins are natural substances produced by moulds. All natural materials and many man-made ones are subject to contamination by moulds and under favourable environmental conditions, when temperature and moisture are conducive, these fungi proliferate and may produce mycotoxins. Over 500 mycotoxins have been identified and this number is steadily increasing. There are several different species of moulds, which generate these mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are the subsidiary metabolites as a biotic armament against other life forms.  Mycotoxin symptoms depend on the type of mycotoxin.

Origin of Mycotoxins:
  1. Food and Agriculture: Agriculture has big issues with mycotoxins. Over 25% of the world's agriculture is affected by mycotoxins. Crops like corn, wheat, and peanuts are the origins for mycotoxins and these gradually end up in food. If the crops are not properly stored after harvesting, then moulds can grow and spoil the crops.
Types of Mycotoxin:

Below are some of the most common mycotoxin types:
  1. Aflatoxins
  2. Trichothecenes
  3. Zearalenone
  4. Ergot Alkaloids
  5. Fescue toxins
  6. Sporidesmin
Symptoms of Mycotoxins:
Mycotoxins can affect animals in a number of ways. Below are some of the mycotoxin symptoms:

    • Immunosuppression: Low immunity against environmental and microbial stressors. More vulnerable to diseases.
    • Decreased food consumption and dairy production (eg: milk, eggs, meat). Significant weight loss and decreased weight gain.
    • Increased body temperature.
    • Increased liver weight, kidney weight. Higher incidence of liver damage and cancer.
    • Reproductive effects such as decreased breeding efficiency, infertility, compromised reproductive performance. Higher abortion rates and lower pregnancy rates. Birth of smaller and unhealthy calves.
    • Haemorrhage, bruises and swelling of the mouth or paunch.
    • Neurotoxic effects such as restlessness, anorexia, occasional convulsions, and ryegrass staggers.
    • Pathological changes such as diarrhoea, lameness, necrosis of abdominal fat.

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