Mycotoxin management in animal feed remains a major challenge to manufacturers and farmers. Symptoms range from subclinical production losses to acute mortality and decreased reproduction. At the base of these clinical and subclinical symptoms lies the disruptive effects of mycotoxins that give rise to an altered immune response which constantly siphons energy away from growth and reproduction.
What are mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are secondary fungal metabolites. They are ever-present in feeds and are a major problem all over the world. Mould growth, and hence mycotoxin production, is determined by several environmental factors that affect the composition of the mycotoxins in feeds. One thing is for sure, mycotoxins never occur alone. In fact, more 400 different mycotoxins have been identified. When animals consume contaminated feed, the toxins will affect the central nervous system, liver, kidney, immune system, and/ or reproductive processes, resulting in production losses.
The effect of mycotoxins on animals
Of the 400 mycotoxins that have been identified to date, zearalenone, ochratoxin, fumonisins, and deoxynivalenol (vomitoxin) are often reported to be harmful in animal feed. While each has a specific mechanism of action, they all have one thing in common in that they are immunosuppressive. This means that the animal’s immune response is altered, and an optimal immune response is no longer possible. More energy is allocated towards the immune system, leaving less energy and nutrients available for growth and reproduction.
How to protect animals against mycotoxicosis?
Due to the huge variety of toxins and their synergistic toxicity at extremely low inclusions, quality control of feedstuffs remains a difficult task. It doesn’t matter how good the quality control system is at the feed mill, contamination is still possible – even probable. Feed additives are an excellent insurance policy, but only if they are effective and reliable.
Recent in vivo research by Impextraco®, using flow cytometry to quantify the number of circulating immune cells, clearly demonstrated that Elitox® supports the animal’s immune system when challenged by mycotoxins. The effects of various mycotoxins on the immune system and the efficacy of Elitox® in supporting and modulating the resulting immune response have been studied in detail. Elitox® has proven its efficacy in practice by improving production metrics even when mycotoxins are present at undetectable levels. In modern production systems where feed ingredients are sourced from different corners of the world, the threat of cocontamination and the resultant toxicological synergies is ever-increasing. Thus, even low concentrations of single mycotoxins occurring in the same feed can cause mycotoxicosis.
Most mycotoxin adsorbents only bind toxins within a certain pH-range in the stomach and release the toxins as the pH increases in the small intestine. Developing antimycotoxin products requires in vivo research to confirm in vitro observations. Alongside partnerships with a number of universities, Impextraco® runs its own research facilities and has validated animal models. The latest scientific techniques, such as the use of biomarkers, are utilised in all our in vivo trials. Combining in vitro and in vivo research strategies culminated in the unique formulation of effective ingredients found in Elitox®, the most reliable insurance policy against mycotoxins with proven efficacy in the field.