Mycotoxin Survey 2014 - Focus on United States Corn Harvest

The latest BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey covers over 6000 agricultural commodity samples from more than 60 countries around the world. This summary focuses on the results of 504 corn harvest samples which were sourced from 27 states in the United States of America in order to identify the presence and potential risk posed to livestock animal production by six main mycotoxins.


Figure 1: Threat of mycotoxin-related risks to livestock for five of the most common mycotoxins based upon threshold levels according to FDA and EU regulatory and guidance values. Samples that tested positive for each state are illustrated in brown and samples that represent a high risk are illustrated in red based upon the maximum levels in each state. The maximum level does not preclude specific, severe instances of mycotoxin contamination in farm or fields locally, nor does it account for the negative impacts of multiple mycotoxin presence.

Main findings in the US corn harvest 2014

  • 87% of samples tested positive for mycotoxins
  • 36% were co-contaminated with more than one mycotoxin
  • DON poses a more frequent threat to livestock, with a prevalence of 62% and an average value of 1,441 ppb, though levels of FUM (55% prevalence, average of 4,512 ppb) also present a cause for concern.

Table 1: Summary of mycotoxin analysis 

Number samples tested407370458354312
Positive (%)192362550
Average of Positive (ppb)354841,4404,5125
Maximum (ppb)98013,70024,792154,0005

Mycotoxin trends in the USA

DON and ZEN present the main threats in the US corn harvest samples. Aflatoxins were detected in 1% of samples at levels above the FDA regulation of 20 ppb. Detected occurrence above risk levels was 6% for zearalenone (ZEN above 100 ppb), 8% for deoxynivalenol (DON above 900 ppb), 4% for fumonisins (FUM above 5,000 ppb) and 0% for T-2 toxin (T-2 above 100 ppb).

Compared to the previous year, the number of corn samples positive for aflatoxins increased by 6% to a total of 19%. The occurrence of DON increased by almost 2.5 fold to 62%. The average concentration of FUM doubled compared to the previous year to over 4,500 ppb.


Overall, DON presents the highest threat in the US corn harvest samples due to its high prevalence and number of samples above the FDA recommended level. As a result of their common co-occurrence also ZEN presents a major threat to US corn. In terms of occurrence, fumonisins rank second among the five main mycotoxins in these samples.

For further information contact the contributor:


Product Manager

BIOMIN Holding GmbH
Erber Campus 1
3131 Getzersdorf, Austria

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