Read ANCO’s first publication in All About Feed, June 2016

As plants evolved, they developed very sophisticated coping mechanisms to stressors, helping plants to be more agile in the face of stressors and threats to survival. It is therefore right to think that new agile concepts developed for nutritional strategies to empower animals to adapt to stressors rely partly on the power of plants.

Several meta-analysis studies have proven the negative impact of mycotoxins in pig and poultry diets on animal performance. What is also becoming apparent with greater knowledge of the impact of mycotoxins on animals is, that mycotoxins will cause very similar physiological and metabolic reactions in the animals as seen in response to more common stressors. Those reactions will again increase cell damage, waste metabolic energy, increase the susceptibility to disease and reduce appetite. Through a multitude of bioactive substances, with a variety of adaptive properties plants are very well equipped to be polyvalent to different stressors and to prevent their negative impact. Bioactive substances derived from plants have also shown to support humans and animals to adapt to stressors more adequately and help counteract some of the negative physiological and metabolic side effects. Applying the right combination of plant extracts to feed can therefore help the animal become more robust and reach performance potential more efficiently in the face of stressors, including mycotoxins.

Read more in Disarm mycotoxins with the agile power of plants, by Gwendolyn Jones, June 2016 digital All About Feed issue, Vol 24/5, page 24-26
http://www.allaboutfeed.net/All-About-Feed-Digital-Magazine/

Aflatoxin: How big is the threat of aflatoxins in poultry diets?

Aflatoxin is a secondary metabolite produced by toxigenic strains of A. flavus and A. parasiticus. Chemically, aflatoxins belong to the bifuranocoumarin group, with aflatoxins B1 (AFB1), B2 (AFB2), G1 (AFG1) and G2 (AFG2) being the most toxic. Liver is the main organ affected by these toxins.

Poultry is considered as the most susceptible animal species to aflatoxins. A meta-analysis (Andretta et al 2011) carried out on broiler performance in response to mycotoxins showed that aflatoxin (average concentration 0.95mg/kg of feed) and ochratoxin had the biggest effects on broiler performance. Aflatoxins on average significantly reduced feed intake by 10% and growth rate by 12%. Aflatoxins also significantly increased liver weight by 22% and the weight of kidneys, lungs, gizzard and the heart. Aflatoxins presented the most important effects of all mycotoxins on organ weight in broilers.

Occurrence of aflatoxins in feed ingredients

Global mycotoxin surveys for 2015 feed and feed ingredient samples revealed that 20% of complete diets were contaminated with Aflatoxin of which 5% at a level of Aflatoxins above risk threshold. The feed ingredient most frequently contaminated with aflatoxin above risk threshold level was corn.

Aflatoxin production occurs primarily in regions with tropical or subtropical climates. Hence, from a European perspective, imported feed such as peanut cake, palm kernel, copra and corn gluten meal (depending of origin) is considered to be the most common source of exposure.

A recent review (Pinotti et al 2016) on the global occurrence of mycotoxins states that aflatoxins are most often detected in Southern Europe, Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia (average values of positive samples higher than 30%).
Aflatoxin Occurrence_2016

Regulatory guidelines for aflatoxin limits in poultry diets

In Brazil, the presence of aflatoxins in corn is regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture through Decree 183 of March 21, 1996 and Resolution 274 of October 15, 2002 of the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency, which established a maximum limit of 20 μg/kg for the sum of aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 and G2.

In the EU the presence of undesirable substances (chemical contaminants) in feed is controlled by EC Directive 2002/32 (as amended). The Directive sets maximum permitted levels (MPLs) for substances that are present in, or on, animal feed that pose a potential danger to animal or human health or to the environment, or could adversely affect livestock production. Currently, aflatoxin B1 is the only mycotoxin with MPLs. MPLs of aflatoxin B1 have been set as low as reasonably achievable in order to protect animal and public health. The aflatoxin B1 limit for poultry diets in the EU is 20 μg/kg.

In the US the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established guidelines for the maximum toxin level that can be safely fed to the animal. See table below.

FDA’s action levels for aflatoxin in poultry feed
FDA aflatoxin guidelines
FDA aflatoxin guidelines