Surveying the mycotoxin threat in Chinese corn in 2014

The Chinese State Administration of Grain (SAG) predicted that “corn production in 2014-15 will be down by 3 million tonnes from the previous estimate due to summer drought damage in major corn producing provinces such as Henan, Inner Mongolia and Liaoning”. They also stated that “in regions not affected by drought, most producing provinces reported higher-than-average quality.”

Provinces in focus: prevalence of mycotoxins as a percentage of total samples analyzed in each region (>10 samples).

Figure 1: Provinces in focus: prevalence of mycotoxins as a percentage of total samples analyzed in each region (>10 samples).

A regional mycotoxin survey was conducted with 162 corn samples that were analyzed from the harvest of 2013 and 2014 from the provinces of Anhui (5), Hebei (15), Henan (14), Heilongjiang (32), Hubei (9), Jiangsu (2), Jilin (19), Liaoning (31), Neimenggu (8), Shandong (9), Shanxi and Shaanxi (18).

Main findings (Table 1):

  • 94% of all corn samples from China were contaminated and almost three quarters contained two or more mycotoxins
  • The most frequent mycotoxin was deoxynivalenol with 90% of positive samples and an average of 488 ppb.
  • Fumonisins was detected in more than two thirds of all Chinese corn samples at an average of 1,425 ppb, a level that poses a health threat to swine which is one of the most sensitive species towards this toxin.
  • More than half of all corn samples were contaminated with the mycoestrogen zearalenone at an average of 108 ppb.

Table 1: Mycotoxin occurrence in Chinese corn samples in 2014.

No. Samples16216216216297
% of Positives13%54%90%65%8%
Average of positives [ppb]810848814250.1
Maximum [ppb]3721,2202,43615,648

Provinces in focus (Figure 1):

  • In Hebei, all corn samples surveyed were contaminated with FUM at a high average of 2,555 ppb. Also ZEN and DON (93%) were present at a high prevalence.
  • More than ¾ of all corn samples from Shanxi and Shaanxi were contaminated with DON and FUM at average levels of 819 ppb and 1,477 ppb, respectively.
  • As predicted, Henan was the region most affected by mycotoxin contamination: FUM and ZEN were detected in all corn samples at the highest average values observed (4,564 ppb and 254 ppb, respectively), DON was present in 93% of the samples at a high 850 ppb and also the highest prevalence and average of Afla (64% and 21 ppb) were recorded in this province.
  • The highest threat in the Northeast provinces of Heilongjang, Jilin and Liaoning was posed by DON as 94%, 95% and 87% of corn samples were contaminated, respectively. Also FUM was detected in more than 2/3 of samples from Jilin and Liaoning.

Mycotoxin monitoring programs give an insight on what we can expect to find in raw materials and help to assess the possible effects that these toxic compounds can have in the animal industry.

For further information contact the contributors:


Product Manager

BIOMIN Holding GmbH
Erber Campus 1
3131 Getzersdorf, Austria

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Technical manager-Mycotoxin Management

BIOMIN Singapore 
Pte Ltd 3791 Jalan Bukit Merah #08-08, 
E-Centre@Redhill, Singapore 159471

Opens window for sending emailguan.shu(at)