Health

Background

Exploring mycotoxins across the continents

Multi-mycotoxin contamination is a global problem. A recent analysis of corn samples examined the instances of mycotoxins across the five continents.

Mycotoxins are the biggest challenge for animal feed producers and therefore, regular monitoring of mycotoxins is necessary. The aim of the present study was to screen corn samples for mycotoxins, received from different countries (five continents) between October 2018 and March 2019. These corn samples were collected by Patent Co customers or distributors in different countries. These corn samples were analysed by LC-MS/MS triple quad (Agilent 6460 series) based multi-mycotoxin method for quantitation of all mycotoxins (Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), B2, G1 and G2, Ochratoxin A (OTA), Zearalenone (ZON), Deoxynivalenol (DON), FB1&B2, T-2 & HT-2 toxins) regulated in the EU in feed by EU Directive 2002/32/EC, 2006/576/EC and 2013/165/EU.

Photo: Patent
Photo: Patent

A total of 400 samples were received for analysis at Patent co, and out of these, more than 95% samples were found contaminated with one or more mycotoxins, see Figure 1. Here, the summary of mycotoxin analysis as per continent is examined:

Asia

98% of the corn samples received from India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand were found to be contaminated with one or more mycotoxins. DON, AFB1, FB1, FB2, T-2, OTA and ZON with an average of 300 ppb, 18 ppb, 1701 ppb, 452 ppb, 19 ppb, 2 ppb and 81 ppb were among the main mycotoxins detected in corn samples from Asia. The median for FB1 was 1019 ppb, FB2 was 258 ppb and for DON median was recorded at 367 ppb. FB1 & (FB2), AFB1, ZON and DON were detected in 94%, 72%, 26% and 10% corn samples, respectively. These results demonstrate that Fusarium mycotoxins (FB1, FB2, DON, ZON) and Aflatoxins were detected in 98% of corn samples tested using LC-MS/MS.

Europe

The corn samples were collected and delivered from Russia, France, Croatia and Balkan countries. 90% of these corn samples were found contaminated with one or more mycotoxins. DON, AFB1, FB1, FB2, T-2, OTA and ZON with an average of 269 ppb, 19 ppb, 1073 ppb, 335 ppb, 97 ppb, 105 ppb and 43 ppb were among the main mycotoxins detected. The median for FB1 was 314 ppb, FB2 was 131 ppb and for DON median was recorded at 178 ppb.

Fusarium mycotoxins (FB1, FB2, DON, ZON) and ochratoxin A were mostly detected in the corn harvested in 2018 from European countries

FB1 in 67% samples, FB2 in 53%, DON in 33%, ZON & T-2 in 25%, OTA in 20% and AFB1 in 4% samples were detected using LC-MS/MS. Therefore, these results demonstrate that fusarium mycotoxins (FB1, FB2, DON, ZON) and ochratoxin A were mostly detected in the corn harvested in 2018 from European countries.

Africa

The lab received corn samples from Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt. 98% of these corn samples were found contaminated with one or more mycotoxins. DON, AFB1, FB1, FB2, OTA and ZON with an average of 405 ppb, 11 ppb, 465 ppb, 196 ppb, 8 ppb and 77 ppb were among the main mycotoxins detected. FB1 with 232 ppb median, FB2 with 124 ppb and DON with 247 ppb median were detected in corn samples.

DON in 84%, FB1 in 46%, FB2 in 32%, AFB1 in 8%, ZON in 30% and OTA in 11% corn samples were detected using LC-MS/MS. These findings demonstrate that fusarium mycotoxins (FB1, DON, FB2, ZON) were present in most of the corn samples tested for mycotoxins using LC-MS/MS.

North and South America

The lab also received corn samples from USA, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Argentina. 99% of these corn samples were found contaminated with one or more mycotoxins. DON, AFB1, FB1, FB2, T-2, OTA and ZON with an average of 505 ppb, 1 ppb, 1609 ppb, 460 ppb, 15 ppb, 2 ppb and 139 ppb were among the main mycotoxins detected, respectively (Table 4). FB1 with 736 ppb median, FB2 with 190 ppb, ZON with 95 ppb and DON with 463 ppb median were detected in corn samples using LC-MS/MS. DON in 22%, FB1 in 80%, FB2 in 99%, AFB1 in 8%, ZON in 21%, OTA in 3% and T-2 in 6% samples were detected using LC-MS/MS. Analysis of these results show that fusarium mycotoxins remained in high percentage in the tested corn samples using LC-MS/MS.

Corn harvested around the world in 2018 was mostly contaminated with Fumonisins

Fumonisins, the world leader

This survey concludes that corn harvested around the world in 2018 was mostly contaminated with Fumonisins. In more than 400 samples analysed worldwide, Fumonisins were present in most of the samples (78%) with a median of 668 ppb and a total of 95% corn samples were found contaminated with one or more mycotoxins. Other than Fumonisins, DON in 30%, AFB1 in 26%, ZON in 21% and OTA in 11% samples were also detected.

Topic of concern

Field mycotoxins such as Fumonisins, DON and ZON were the most commonly detected in corn samples received from North and South America, Africa and Europe. Fumonisins and AFB1 were predominant in Asia. From this mycotoxin survey, mycotoxins remain a topic of concern in animal feed and multi-mycotoxin occurrence continues to be a threat. Constant monitoring and research on the prevention and or remediation of mycotoxin contamination is therefore necessary.

Authors: Jog Raj, Hunor Farkaš, Zdenka Jakovčević, Jasna Bošnjak-Neumüller and Marko Vasiljević, Patent Co, Serbia

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