Deoxynivalenol (DON) belongs to the trichothecene group of mycotoxins and is the most prevalent mycotoxin found in feed materials around the world. Neogen reports DON in the wheat and barley 2016 harvest of several states in the USA (Figure 1 below) and certain states such as Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa have also reported DON in corn.
Pigs are particularly sensitive to DON in the diet and generally the first symptoms to be seen in pigs is a reduction in feed intake. This is particularly detrimental to performance in young pigs, but can also impact older pigs. A meta-analysis (Andretta et al 2012) on 85 published papers on the impact of mycotoxins on pig performance showed that feed intake was 26% lower in animals that consumed diets containing DON in comparison with control groups.
Other stress reactions to DON at the cellular level
While the biggest negative impact on pig performance from DON is due to a reduction in feed intake, there are stress reactions at the cellular level and in the gut that can increase the susceptibility to disease and reduce efficiency of performance in pigs.
Increase in inflammatory responses
Shifts in the gut microflora towards more pathogenic bacteria
Reduced gut integrity
Figure 1 attribution to www.wattagnet.com