Taking Mycotoxin Control to the Next Level: 5 Takeaways from the 10th World Mycotoxin Forum

As well as a plenary presentation from BIOMIN Research Director Dr. Gerd Schatzmayr, other members of the BIOMIN team were at the event. Here we share the main 5 takeaway messages with you.

1. Climate change

This megatrend will inevitably change mycotoxin contamination patterns, creating new and unexpected challenges when detoxifying feed and raw materials. New mycotoxins will continue to emerge with increasing global temperatures. Already, fungi are slowly moving towards the Earth’s poles (read Climate change and multi-mycotoxin occurrence).

Livestock producers need real-time weather data from satellites and weather stations. Predicting weather patterns will inform farmers and livestock producers when to harvest their feed crops for optimal yields while minimizing the risk of mycotoxin contamination.

2. Detoxifying agents

Due to the increasing global trade of raw materials, there is a need for tight cooperation between the biggest markets such as EU, China and US. Animal feed ingredients are sourced from an increasingly large geographical area, so knowledge and control of mycotoxins needs to be on a global scale. With the emergence of new mycotoxins, there is an urgent need for further development of mycotoxin detoxifying agents.

Harmonized safety assessments need to be implemented across the globe so that products can be used in a range of situations. For example, detoxification agents can be used to treat the mycotoxins found in raw materials used to make animal feeds, bioethanol and other applications. Metagenomics will play an essential role in the development of new and better performing products.

3. ‘-omics’ approach

More research is required to better understand the interactions between organisms (fungi vs plants). Questions such as ‘which metabolites are involved in resistance?’ and ‘can we use genes to produce resistant crops?’ need answering. Technology is available to produce in silico models and to retrieve information from big data. Increased knowledge will allow the development of more solutions to overcome mycotoxin challenges.

4. Management strategies

Integrated solutions should aim to counteract mycotoxin contamination along the whole food chain, starting with the development of practical and affordable tools for end users. Resistant crops are fundamental for mycotoxin mitigation. Legal guidelines need to be introduced for new cultivars. Novel food processing techniques such as microsonication need to be implemented on full scale as well.

5. Detection and control

Livestock producers need to have accurate information about the mycotoxin contamination levels in their raw materials and finished feeds. Without rigorous and reliable mycotoxin assessment tools, mycotoxin management is difficult. Although analytical chemistry has progressed significantly, many challenges still remain. New emerging mycotoxins are being discovered and need to be assessed (read about Opens external link in new windowThe Effects of Emerging Mycotoxins in Livestock). Sampling plans need to be improved and harmonized between different markets. Multi-mycotoxin analytical methods need proficiency tests for quality assurance. The need for new, improved, cost-efficient and reliable analysis solutions remains.