Mycotoxin risk in milk and dairy products
There is the risk to carry-over mycotoxins to animal products, like meat, eggs and milk, intended for human consumption...
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by certain fungi that can contaminate the feed ingredients and cause acute and chronic disorders in animal production and significant economic losses. In addition to the direct effects mentioned above, there is the risk to carry-over mycotoxins to animal products, like meat, eggs and milk, intended for human consumption.
Milk is one of the most produced, consumed and valuable agricultural commodities worldwide. World milk production was of 846 Mt in 2018, steadily increasing yearly. Nearly 90% of this milk supply comes from cows, followed by buffaloes, goats, sheep and camels. The worldâ€™s largest producer of milk is India, followed by the United States, China, Pakistan and Brazil.
Ruminants are thought to be relatively resistant to mycotoxins, as they are usually degraded or inactivated in the rumen. However, these species have an increased risk of exposure to mycotoxins due to the great range of ingredients that are used in their feed formulations.
Several research projects demonstrated that mycotoxins like aflatoxins, fumonisins and deoxynivalenol can reduce the feed intake and impair the liver and the general health, causing a drop in the milk production and reproductive efficiency, as well as immunosuppression and increased susceptibility to diseases.
Aflatoxins: importance in public health
Aflatoxins stand out as the most common mycotoxins to be monitored in milk, because the metabolization of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) in dairy cow generates the excretion of aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) in milk. The transfer rate from AFB1 in feed to AFM1 in milk varies from 1 to 6%.
Both AFB1 and AFM1 are classified as carcinogenic compounds. Thus, to protect consumers, most countries have set up governmental regulations to limit the concentrations of AFB1 in feed and feed ingredients and of AFM1 in milk.
The European Union established a maximum level of AFM1 of 50 ng/L in raw milk, while in China and the US, this level was of 500 ng of AFM1 per liter of milk, ten-fold higher compared to Europe.
Several studies, where the AFM1 levels were determined by HPLC or ELISA revealed that the concentrations of this mycotoxin metabolite was generally above the European regulatory limits in developing countries. Â
Reducing mycotoxin impact in ruminants and humans
Mycotoxin-contamination in feed can be reduced through a proper control of the harvest and storage conditions. Nevertheless, the complete elimination of mycotoxins is still impossible, and the use of feed additives to prevent the effect of mycotoxins in animals and the entrance in the food chain is widespread.
Alquerfeed Antitox Plus, the mycotoxin binder of Biovet, is based on Silicoglycidol, a patented molecule that has been optimized through ionic and thermal treatments, leading to an enhanced structure with unique binding and specificity properties.
Alquerfeed Antitox Plus combines the Silicoglycidol with probiotics, aiming to prevent disbalances of the microbiota and restore its population once challenged by mycotoxins.
Silicoglycidol-based Alquerfeed Antitox Plus is able to capture all range of mycotoxins at a low inclusion rate, avoiding the damage and absorption of mycotoxins in the digestive tract. This patented technology has undergone deep research to corroborate its effectivity in ruminants.
Silicoglycidol: effective solution to capture aflatoxins
In vitro evaluations simulating ruminantâ€™s digestive system showed that Silicoglycidol was able to capture the 100% of aflatoxin B1 (300 ppb), without losing its effectivity despite the variations of pH along the digestive tract.
This effectivity was corroborated also in vivo, where Silicoglycidol was able to reduce the excretion of aflatoxin M1 in milk, both in dairy cows and goats.
Reduction of aflatoxin M1 in milk thanks to Silicoglycidol
Silicoglycidol was tested at Iowa State University (US) in dairy cows, aiming to mitigate aflatoxin M1 contamination in milk.
Holstein cows with 2 or more lactations and more than 200 days in milk were used for the trial. Milking was performed 3 times a day. Animals received a high challenge of aflatoxin (2500 ÎĽg/cow/day), more than 100 times higher than the threshold levels, and Silicoglycidol dosage was of 28 grams (0.10% of dry matter).
Results showed that the product is an effective strategy as it obtained a 27% lower concentration of AFM1 in milk and 28% reduction in the transfer rate compared to the non-treated and challenged group.
Pioneer trial in goat
Furthermore, Silicoglycidol was also tested toÂ reduce the concentration of aflatoxin M1 in goat milk. The trial was conducted atÂ Universidad de CĂłrdobaÂ (Spain) and results showed thatÂ the concentration of AFM1 in milk was 26.27% lower than the challenged and non-treated animals.
In addition, both trials demonstrated that the supplementation of the mycotoxin binder did not affect the production parameters nor the milk composition.
Alquerfeed Antitox Plus: validated efficacy in ruminants
Milk is one of the most popular animal products. Aflatoxin M1 can be present in the milk and represents a major food safety problem, and it is necessary to strictly detect and prevent AFM1 contamination in milk.
In order to protect consumers against this hazard, adequate preventive measures should be applied. Among them, the use of Alquerfeed Antitox Plus, a validated mycotoxin binder, is an effective tool to considerably reduce the excretion of aflatoxin M1 in milk in different ruminant species.
- Fao reports – https://www.fao.org/dairy-production-products/
- Li Min, Xiong Tong, Hao Sun, Diyun Ding, Bin Xu, Weidong Chen, Gang Wang & Dagang Li (2021). Aflatoxin M1 contamination in raw milk and its association with herd types in the ten provinces of Southern China, Italian Journal of Animal Science, 20:1, 1562-1567, DOI: 10.1080/1828051X.2021.1987159
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