Randox Food Diagnostics offers innovative multiplex technology for mycotoxin screening within varieties of farmed crops
Mycotoxins are poisonous chemical compounds produced by certain fungi. There are many such compounds, but only a few of them are regularly found in food, farmed crops and end product animal feeds. Since they are produced by fungi, mycotoxins are associated with diseased or mouldy crops. Those that do occur in food may have an impact on livestock and the health of humans and have been associated with conditions such as asthma, respiratory infections and chronic fatigue. The main causes of mycotoxins within stored grains are when the grain is damp, damaged or cracked and kept in insufficient storage conditions.
The formation of mycotoxins is climate-dependent, with temperature and moisture levels directly impacting fungal growth. Evidence shows that climate change is causing increasing temperatures and altered rainfall patterns. Additionally, extreme weather incidents have increased. As a consequence of these changes, increased levels of mycotoxins have been observed in some European crops.
Mycotoxins occur, and exert their toxic effects, in extremely small quantities in foodstuffs. Their identification and quantitative assessment therefore generally require sophisticated sampling, sample preparation, extraction, and analytical techniques. Under practical storage conditions, the aim should be to monitor for the occurrence of fungi. If fungi cannot be detected then there is unlikely to be any mycotoxin contamination. The presence of fungi indicates the potential for mycotoxin production, and the need to consider the fate of the batch of commodity affected.
In order to help the industry Randox Food Diagnostics developed the Evidence Investigator analyser. The Investigator uses Biochip Array Technology (BAT), a technology that was developed by Randox, to detect multiple residues (up to 45) from a single sample. Within farmed crops Randox Food Diagnostics provide testing for different matrices such as: Maize silage, maize, Barley, grass seed, rice, wheat, oats, soya, DDGS, rapeseed as well as livestock and pet foods including premixed feed.
Randox Food Diagnostics offer a mycotoxin screening array on Biochip called Myco 10 which can detect 10 mycotoxins per sample including aflatoxins G1/G2 & B1/B2, ergot alkaloids, fumonisins, paxilline, ochratoxin A, diacetoxyscirpenol, deoxynivalenol (DON), T2 toxin & zeralenone. Also offered is a range of ELISA test kits including ergot alkaloids.
Randox Food Diagnostics is a regular participant in the FAPAS proficiency testing scheme which provides an independent check of a laboratory’s procedures to ensure the delivery of quality results. To read our study on: Biochip Array Technology for the reliable performance of multi-mycotoxin determination in animal feed materials” click here: http://www.randoxfooddiagnostics.com/docs/default-source/randox-fd/posters/bat-mycotoxins-in-animal-feed-materials.pdf?sfvrsn=4
Mycotoxin contamination is a real and constant threat for feed and animal compound producers globally. Recently the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontairo stated that the different geographical locations of cattle mean between 10 and 20 mycotoxins can be present at once. This is a result of extreme weather patterns across the US with excess moisture and drought in different areas causing an increase in the frequency of mycotoxins, creating challenges in protecting livestock from ingesting contaminated feed.
The most common mycotoxins found are Aflatoxin, Fusarium, Deoxynivalenol and Zearalenone. Aflatoxin is produced by Aspergillus flavus, a tropical fungus that thrives in high humidity and affects an animal’s liver, causing cancer in more extreme cases. Fusarium can develop in most temperate climates across the U.S and Canada. Fusarium poses a higher threat than other toxins as there are hundreds of different chemical structures to analyse to enable identification of the Fusarium.
Difficulties also arise in finding an analytical method sensitive enough to detect mycotoxins at low levels of contamination as small amounts can still lead to fatal results in horses, dogs and cats.
To prevent mycotoxin infection in feed, processors can implement a routine screening procedure with the help of Randox Food Diagnostics. Randox Food offer a multiplex screening system for the simultaneous detection of up to 10 of the world’s most prevalent mycotoxins including: Paxilline, Fumonisins (part of the Fusarium group), Ochratoxin A, Aflatoxin G1/G2, Aflatoxin B1/B2, Ergot Alkaloids, Diacetoxyscirpenol, Deoxynivalenol, T2 Toxin and Zearalenone. All compounds are screened at low limits of detection using Biochip Array Technology.
Biochip Array Technology is a patented technology created by Randox to facilitate the detection of contaminants and drug residues with over 20 evaluated matrices in feed (see full list below).
|Animal Feed (Complete)||Millet||Sunflower|
|Cotton Seed||Rye||Feed Pea|
|Distillers Grain||Silage||Vetches (Vica)|
Pet Food companies worldwide are working towards constantly improving and maximising the quality of their product. The problematic topic of mycotoxin contamination in pet feed is quickly becoming a major cause for concern. This is due to the risk they pose for animal health and with the increasing prevalence of mycotoxins globally the focus is on pet food companies to meet EU and FDA regulations and maximise the quality of their product.
What are Mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are naturally occurring metabolites that are produced by certain moulds and with the ability to develop and grow on a variety of crops they can affect large amounts of feed and increasingly, pet food. If a sample tests positive even for low levels of contamination the toxins are still strong enough to cause illness in animals, and if low levels are consumed over a long period of time this can result in chronic illnesses including; cancer, organ damage and neurological disorders.
The main mycotoxins of concern in pet food are;
- Deoxynivalenol (DON)
- Fumonisins (FUM)
- Zearalenone (ZEN)
- T-2 Toxin
Contamination can occur in any country around the world and at any stage of production. Herein lies the issue of how to prevent mycotoxin pollution, to tackle the issue head on and work towards a mycotoxin free product is the joint responsibility of feed producers, supply chain partners and quality control laboratories ensuring the complete safety of the product.
How can you tell if an animal has ingested pet food contaminated with mycotoxins?
In terms of animal health, mycotoxins can cause a variety of problems. Severity and symptoms can vary from animal to animal but general symptoms include; hyperactivity, vomiting, high temperature and loss of coordination. If you suspect your pet has been affected by mycotoxins you must bring them to the vet for immediate treatment.
The European Union currently regulate all the mycotoxins listed above and are subject to maximum or recommended residue limits. In the US, FDA regulations are limited to aflatoxins, DON and fumonisins, see table below for FDA regulations. If mycotoxin levels in feed fail to meet FDA standards, mass amounts of feed may need to be destroyed as grain producers are prohibited from mixing contaminated feed with clean feed to reduce the mycotoxin levels.
|Immature Animals||Aflatoxins||Corn/ peanut/ other ingredients||20 ppb|
|Adult Pets||Aflatoxins||Corn/ peanut/ cottonseed meal/ other ingredients||20 ppb|
|DON||Grain/ grain byproducts, not to exceed 40% of diet||5 ppm|
|Fumonisins||Corn/ corn byproducts, not to exceed 50% of the diet||10 ppm|
How do we tackle the problem?
Safe, reliable screening solutions for different variations of mycotoxins are available that can ensure only mycotoxin free feed is produced. Randox Food Diagnostics have created mycotoxin screening platforms as a response to increased levels of mycotoxins being found in feed globally.
The platforms use patented Biochip Array Technology (BAT) so pet food producers can test for multiple toxins from a single sample. Randox Food Diagnostics have a range of mycotoxin Biochip Arrays available with customised arrays available to suit the specific screening needs of certain producers. Each Biochip format uses a straightforward extraction process with a 50µl sample of feed, available tests include; Fumonisins, Ochratoxin A, Aflatoxin G1/G2, Aflatoxin B1, Paxiline, Ergot Alkaloids, Diacetoxyscirpenol, Deoxynivalenol, T2 Toxin and Zearalenone.
For more information on mycotoxin screening with Randox Food Diagnostics contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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