Key Takeaways on Mycotoxins: 2016 World Nutrition Forum

Here are the key takeaways on mycotoxins from this year’s sessions.

Mycotoxins issues affect vast majority of food and feed industry

Just 8% of delegates attending the 2016 World Nutrition Forum said that they had not encountered a mycotoxin problem in the last 3 years, according to a smartphone poll conducted during the plenary session.

83% said that they had encountered a mycotoxin problem, while 9% answered ‘maybe,’ suggesting undefined performance issues potentially caused by mycotoxins.

3 things will make mycotoxins a bigger topic in the future

  1. fishmeal replacement
  2. climate change and
  3. the replacement of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) all mean that mycotoxins will likely have a bigger impact on the livestock industry going forward.

Fishmeal replacement

New protein sources like algae and insects will become interesting source of proteins. Insects are abundant, easy and cheap to breed in larger amounts, and extremely rich in proteins. Insect proteins have already been included in feed formulation with good results, and in the future, we might observe a bigger shift towards the inclusion of insect products in animal and human nutrition. Yet, new ingredients can bring new challenges. Take the case of aquaculture, where fishmeal or fish oil replacement has led to greater use of plant-based ingredients that often contain mycotoxins.

Climate change

Mycotoxins and endotoxins are a big issue that is destined to become greater in the coming years. As this year’s BIOMIN B.R.A.I.N. award winner, Prof Rudolf Krska, pointed out, more than 400 mycotoxins and other fungal and bacterial metabolites have already been identified. This number is likely to increase thanks to factors such as droughts and the spread of plant diseases and pests i.e. the brown planthopper infestation of Thai rice during the 2009/2010 season.

According to Dr. Christopher Elliot of Queens University Belfast, climate change will play a role in crop failures and these events are likely to increase in the next years. Crop failures will pose a threat to food security, and we will need to find solutions to cope with them through field and post-harvest applications.

Antibiotic reduction

The antibiotic resistant bacteria and the push to reduce antibiotics in animal production drive the need high performing feed additives. Dr. Elliot explained that antibiotic free production will challenge animals and producers and most probably also intensify the impact of mycotoxins.

This is partly due to the fact that ordinary levels of mycotoxins in feed can impair gut function, as Dr. Todd Applegate explained.

Solving mycotoxins

In light of the growing challenges mycotoxins pose to livestock production, effective post-harvest solutions are needed now more than ever.

Currently, the most common mycotoxin deactivators are binders, but information on their mode of action is misleading and their claims are often questionable. As BIOMIN founder Erich Erber stated in a recent interview, Mycofix® was the first product to combat mycotoxins based on the concept of biotransformation. In the same interview, he spells out five reasons why biotransformation is the future of mycotoxin risk management.

Dr. Chris Elliot expressed his belief that mycotoxin mitigation will be technology-driven, and at BIOMIN we agree. Mycotoxin-deactivating enzymes are a natural method for mycotoxin detoxification, according to Dr. Wulf-Dieter Moll of the BIOMIN Research Center. It’s an extremely effective approach taken by FUMzyme®, an ingredient in Mycofix® that can achieve over 200 catalyzations per second.

Given the advantages of enzymatic detoxification, one can expect it to play a key role in increasing the value and safety of animal feed in the years to come. At BIOMIN, we intend to maintain our lead in providing the industry with cutting-edge tools to deactivate mycotoxins.

For further information contact the contributor:

Michele MUCCIO

Michele MUCCIO, MSc
Product Manager

BIOMIN Holding GmbH
Erber Campus 1
3131 Getzersdorf, Austria

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