Fusarium toxins challenge corn (maize) harvest 2014

Weather conditions strongly influence fungal growth and the production of mycotoxins. High precipitation this summer created a favorable environment for severe Fusarium mycotoxin contamination – mainly deoxynivalenol, zearalenone – along with reports of animals’ reduced feed intake, feed refusal, vomiting and poor growth performance from the field.

A total of 223 corn samples from the 2014 harvest were sourced from September to October across Europe. Table 1 gives an overview of the occurrence of deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN) in the different corn samples per region.

Table 1: Occurrence of ZEN and DON in European corn samples, 2014 harvest

Number of samples tested132223
Positive (%)8092
Average of positive (μg/kg)4973,221
Maximum (μg/kg)2,06411,320

Distribution of mycotoxins according to risk levels

The risk levels of ZEN and DON are analyzed according to the percentage of samples in the different contamination ranges. The main result from this new corn harvest survey was the following:

  • 56% of all surveyed samples showed contamination levels above 900 ppb DON (EU guidance values for DON in complementary and complete feedstuffs for pigs, EC 2006).
  • 47% of all corn samples contained levels above 100 ppb ZEN (EU guidance values for ZEN in complementary and complete feedstuffs for piglets and gilts, EC 2006).

Moreover, results show that 94 % of all samples tested contain at least 1 mycotoxin and that 50 % of samples exhibit co-contaminations.



Half of all European corn samples tested contained more than one mycotoxin


9 out of 10 European corn samples tested positive for mycotoxin deoxynivalenol


80% of all European corn samples tested showed zearalenone occurrence

The analysis of more than 200 European corn samples showed clearly that DON and ZEN are of great concern in this years’ corn harvest with very high average concentration levels of ZEN with 500 ppb and DON with 3,000 pbb compared to previous once. An effective mycotoxin risk management program is also essential in order to protect animals from the effects of DON and ZEN on health and performance.

For further information contact the contributor:


Product Manager

BIOMIN Holding GmbH
Erber Campus 1
3131 Getzersdorf, Austria

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