Since 2004, the BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey Program constitutes the longest running, and most comprehensive survey of its kind. It details the incidence of the main mycotoxins occurring in agricultural commodities, which include aflatoxins (Afla), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 toxin (T-2), fumonisins (FUM) and ochratoxin A (OTA).
The survey focuses on components that are used for feed such as corn, wheat, barley, rice, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, dried distillers grains (DDGS) and silage, among others.
From January to June 2018, the BIOMIN scientists have tested 8,527 samples, from different regions around the world.
Top threats worldwide
The main mycotoxins detected are deoxynivalenol, fumonisins and zearalenone, detected in 70%, 18% and 68% of all samples respectively. The average levels were 774 ppb for DON, 1,748 ppb for FUM and 135 ppb for ZEN. Other mycotoxins such as Afla, T-2 and OTA, were detected in 21%, 18% and 17% of samples analyzed respectively. (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Occurrence of mycotoxins worldwide through Q2 2018. Average of all samples collected by BIOMIN.
The results show that 91% of all samples contained at least one mycotoxin. Of these, 72% contained at least three mycotoxins (figure 2). The phenomena of co-contamination inevitably leads to synergism, a condition where the severity of one mycotoxin is increased by the presence of others.
Figure 2. Co-occurrence of mycotoxins worldwide, collected by BIOMIN, in all samples.
With five mycotoxins above the risk threshold, Europe faces a severe contamination risk. The most prevalent mycotoxin in this region was DON, detected in 69% of the samples, followed by ZEN, detected in 65% of the samples. FUM was detected in 63% of samples analyzed. The highest contamination found in a single sample was 40,700 ppb for DON, 3,889 ppb for ZEN and 26,204 ppb for FUM.
In Asia the average concentration of four mycotoxins is above the risk threshold, hence this region is facing a high contamination risk. Nonetheless, we can see a significant decrease of T-2 toxin contamination, compared to the last months. Moreover, the incidence of Afla was rather low with 33% of samples analyzed contaminated with this mycotoxin, although the average concentration of 40 ppb should be of concern for dairy producers. The most prevalent mycotoxin remains FUM, detected in 83% of samples, followed by DON, detected in 80% of samples analyzed. The concentration of ZEN should not be neglected, as it was detected in 64% of the samples. The maximum FUM concentration recorded was 60,275 ppb.
With six mycotoxins above risk threshold, North America faces a severe contamination risk. The most prevalent mycotoxins detected are DON and FUM, found in 66% and 43% of the feed samples analyzed, respectively. ZEN was detected in 26%, in the samples. Other mycotoxins such as Afla, OTA and T-2, were detected in less than 20% of the samples. The highest concentration of FUM in a single sample was 50,734 ppb. ZEN and DON showed very high maximum concentrations as well: 10,790 and 10,728 respectively.
Central America faces a high contamination risk having four mycotoxins average concentrations above the risk threshold. FUM is the highest prevalent mycotoxin and was found in 79% of samples, followed by DON, identified in 57% of samples respectively. Afla, ZEN, T-2 and OTA were detected in 18%, 17%, 0 and 3% of samples respectively. The highest maximum concentrations of FUM and DON were 4,427 and 1,618 ppb respectively.
This region faces a severe contamination risk having five mycotoxins average concentrations above the risk threshold. FUM and DON are the highest prevalent mycotoxins and were found in 69% and 68% of samples respectively, followed by ZEN, identified in 56% of samples analyzed. Afla, T-2 and OTA were detected in 21%, 25% and 5% of samples respectively. South America shows the highest maximum concentration of FUM and DON worldwide (70,418 and 24,880 ppb respectively).
With four mycotoxins average concentrations above the risk threshold, the Middle East faces a high contamination risk. The most prevalent mycotoxins in this region were FUM, followed by ZEN and DON, detected in 86%, 57% and 49% of samples respectively. The highest maximum concentration detected in Middle East was 4,805 ppb FUM.
With four mycotoxins above the risk threshold Africa faces a high mycotoxin contamination risk. FUM and DON were both detected in 75% of samples analyzed; whereas ZEN was the third most prevalent mycotoxin, and was detected in 71% of samples analyzed. The highest FUM concentration in a single sample was 14,427 ppb. Afla was detected in 12% of samples analyzed, whereas T-2 and OTA in 3% and 13% of samples respectively.
These BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey findings show that recent mycotoxin occurrence is quite high. The mycotoxin problem can be addressed through valid farm management strategies and the use of a registered mycotoxin deactivator whose efficiency is scientifically proven.