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Mycotoxins 1: Mycotoxin Development Module

This module will discuss mycotoxins and their significance for grain and feed industries. This module covers mycotoxin production by various fungal species and the impact of mycotoxin contamination in animal feed. This grain module is brought to you by the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative and was produced by the former Crop Adviser Institute.

Click here to access the Mycotoxins 1 Module

Learning objective: Learn management practices for testing mycotoxin contamination, and preventing the production of mycotoxins. Understand the relationship of fungi in the environment to mycotoxin production. Recognize harmful levels and effects of certain mycotoxins on humans and animals.

Introduction: Mycotoxins are chemical compounds produced by some fungi. They contaminate crops worldwide. There are five mycotoxins typically of concern in US grains; aflatoxins, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, deoxynivalenol (vomitoxin), and zearalenone.

Development: Not all fungi produce mycotoxins, and those capable of producing mycotoxins do not always do so. Climate, weather, plant health, development stage, and the timing of these interacting factors govern the risk for both fungal and mycotoxin contamination. Mycotoxins are stable compounds, so once they are in a product they are hard to remove.

Harmful levels: Action levels for aflatoxin range from 20 ppb in general commerce, up to 300 ppb in grain intended for beef cattle. Advisory levels for deoxynivalenol have been established as well as guidance levels for fumonisins. The FDA does not currently have action, advisory, or guidance levels for zearalenone or ochratoxin A.

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Publication Date: 08/2016

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