Mycotoxin incidence in raw materials and feed in the swine industry
Situation in Southeast Asia during the first quarter of 2020
The pig industry in Southeast Asian countries has markedly increased in the past 20 years. The increase in population, as well as a moderate industrialization of the sector, have contributed to this growth, although, even today, many of the farms are still small and rural.
However, one of the main reasons that has contributed to this growth is the continuous increase in the demand for pork in China. Certain countries in this region have positioned themselves commercially towards the export of pork to China, on one hand, due to the logistical ease provided by their privileged geographical location and, on the other hand, due to the absence of religious rejection in these countries to pork production and consumption.
Therefore, these countries are large pig producers, both for national consumption, which grows between 1.5% and 5% per year, and pork exports, as in the case of Thailand and Vietnam.
The origin of the raw materials
Along with the growth of the pig sector, there has been an increase in the demand for raw materials and feed to be able to supply the pig industry in Southeast Asia. National production of cereals, such as soybeans or corn, is insufficient to supply the sector, since these countries have a limited cultivable area and other cereals, such as rice, use an important part of it.
Therefore, cereal imports from different origins have also increased. In the case of corn, it comes mainly from Brazil and Argentina, while wheat has had different origins in the last years, and it may come from Australia, Ukraine, United States or Canada. Currently, the import of both cereals from China has increased.
Mycotoxin contamination of raw materials
Both national and imported cereals present significant contaminations by mycotoxins, as occurred in previous years. The main mycotoxins in the latest cereal analysis carried out, both to national and imported grains, are fumonisin, DON and zearalenone, with a prevalence that can exceed 90%, depending on the origin. This means that up to 90% of the samples could be contaminated with more than 500 ppb of fumonisin, 150 ppb of DON or 50 ppb of zearalenone, depending on the origin, which correspond to the maximum recommended levels. The negative health effects produced by these mycotoxins are varied and produce great economic losses in the industry. The most common effects that can be observed are:
- In the case of fumonisin, this mycotoxin is characterized by causing nervous and respiratory signs. It normally causes subclinical problems, which, at low doses below 500 ppb, are difficult to detect, but it causes abnormal growth and can affect the final weight between 1% and 3%, especially at the end of the growth phase. At higher contamination levels, exceeding 1000 ppb, sporadic outbreaks of pulmonary edema may appear. Furthermore, it is easy to find high contaminations, above 10 ppm, where respiratory signs are severe, and most animals present pulmonary edema and high mortality, between 10% and 40%, can appear. This leads to important economic losses, especially when mortality occurs in advanced periods of the fattening cycle.
- Mycotoxicosis caused by DON presents unspecific symptoms at low contamination levels, between 300 ppb and 1000 ppb, such as feed rejection and slight alteration in the productive performance. At higher contamination rates, above 1500 ppb, negative effects on performance are markedly observed, with feed conversion rates worsened by 1% to 2%. With 2500 ppb of DON, the worsening of the feed conversion rate is accentuated by around 10% and thre is an increase in liver enzymes between 0.75% and 2.5%. Finally, above 4000 ppb and 5000 ppb, marked symptoms appear in a variable percentage of animals, between 5% and 25%, which include vomiting and haemorrhages. The economic repercussion of most mycotoxicosis caused by DON is mainly because this mycotoxin worsens productive performance and the feed conversion rates, between 1% and 10%, depending on the level of contamination.
- Finally, pigs are especially sensitive to the effects of zearalenone, especially females. Contamination levels between 1500 ppb and 2000 ppb produce the characteristic signs of redness and inflammation of the vulva and uterus, which can increase its normal volume by 50%. Between 2000 ppb and 30 ppm, zearalenone causes corpus luteum retention, infertility, anestrus, increased weaning-to-estrus interval, and pseudopregnancy. From 30 ppm, embryonic mortality appears and, consequently, abortion, practically in 100% of the females exposed to these contamination levels.
Furthermore, all mycotoxins have combined effects that can cause unpredictable damage to different organs, even at low concentrations. Another secondary damage caused by mycotoxins is the increase in the relative weight of the organs, which shows a loss in their efficiency and this will result in a worse productive performance.
Mycotoxicosis prevention through the use of Silicoglycidol
The multiple origin of the cereals, as well as the high contamination levels of mycotoxins described in the previous sections, make the prevention of mycotoxicosis essential in the pig industry of the Southeast Asian countries. There are different prevention systems, but those based on the Silicoglycidol molecule have widely proved to be the most effective.
Silicoglycidol is a patented molecule that presents an optimized surface for the adsorption of mycotoxins, thanks to the fact that the molecule is subjected to a heat treatment and an ion exchange. Due to this optimized structure, the molecule, on one hand, has a greater adsorption surface, which allows to lower its effective dose, and, on the other hand, it has a greater capacity to bind mycotoxins through hydrogen bonds. Due to the chemical characteristics of this molecule and the chemical groups of mycotoxins, Silicoglycidol is capable of binding mycotoxins of all groups through hydrogen bonds, so it can prevent mycotoxicosis caused by any type of mycotoxin. In addition, hydrogen bonds are the strongest in nature, so mycotoxins remain attached to the binder at any of the pH of the digestive tract and will be eliminated in the faeces without causing damage, as they pass through the organism. An added positive effect of using this molecule is that it is completely safe for the organism and does not adsorb vitamins, aminoacids or other components of the diet, which positively contributes to the economic profitability of the farm.
The use of mycotoxin binders based on Silicoglycidol has been shown to increase the efficiency of pig farms. This is because, with the use of this molecule, feed conversion rates can be improved by around 10%, or even more. This means that pig farms, thanks to the positive effect of Silicoglycidol, can produce between 1 and 2 more tons of meat while saving between 1.5 and 3 tons of feed per 1000 animals, which represents a significant improvement in productive efficiency.
Pig production has markedly increased in Southeast Asian countries due to the increasing demand for pork in China. This has led to an increase in the demand for raw materials and the need to use domestic and imported cereals. However, and in continuation with the trend of the recent years, mycotoxin contamination levels in cereals are extremely high, regardless of their origin. This makes the implementation of a mycotoxin prevention program necessary, to prevent damage to animal health and the consequent economic repercussions. Mycotoxin binders based on Silicoglycidol proved to be the most effective and are widely used in Southeast Asia for the prevention of mycotoxicosis, including those caused by fumonisin, DON and zearalenone, which were prevalent in the first quarter of 2020. Furthermore, the use of this molecule showed significant improvements in the pig farms’ efficiency, which are reflected very positively in economic terms for the producers