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The Prevalence and Effects of Mycotoxins in Pigs

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Production by student on August 3, 2018

Author: Dr. Max F. Hawkins

Reference: Banff Pork Seminar Proceedings 2018

Summary: There is over 400 known mycotoxins that have the ability to negatively impact swine performance. There are many aspects of production which they can influence. The mycotoxin of greatest concern is DON because of its impact on feed intake and its prevalence. However, the negative implications of mycotoxins can encompass more than one mycotoxin.

Not all mycotoxins have dramatic effects, some only harbor subtle effects. A method has been developed by Alltech to assess the level of mycotoxin present in feedstuff. The method accounts for all the mycotoxins present, places a value and sums the value to calculate the Risk Equivalent  Quantity (REQ).

Lowering feed costs is continually a concern at the forefront of production, resulting in a greater utilization of by-product ingredients. Processed grain by-products, such as DDGS, concentrate the mycotoxin present into a smaller mass. This results in DDGS generally containing three times the concentration of mycotoxins than the original grain. The product may result in a cheaper diet, but also increases the concentration of mycotoxin in the diet.

When considering the risk of mycotoxin, it has been defined as the amount of mycotoxin that can be consumed without seeing a dramatic effect. However, research has displayed that smaller quantities of mycotoxin can have subtle effects on swine implying that maximum utilization may not be an ideal method.

Mycotoxin effects can also be affected through management, environment and pig health status. Low risk mycotoxins can still harbor a negative impact towards the performance of the pig, ultimately resulting in less economic gain.

The Prevalence and Effects of Mycotoxins in Pigs

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