Mycotoxins in focus: Deoxynivalenol

WheatStalk_closeup_blogAs summer moves toward fall, several states in the U.S. are reporting confirmed cases of a mycotoxin that affect grain commodities such as wheat.

The majority of the deoxynivalenol (DON, or vomitoxin) reports are centered in the Eastern U.S. and Midwest, according to Neogen’s latest mycotoxin report. Reports are the highest in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana at 10 parts per million (ppm) in winter wheat. For barley, there are reports of 10 ppm in Delaware and Maryland.

Other reports in winter wheat include:

  • 5 ppm in North Carolina and Wisconsin
  • 2 ppm in Alabama, Georgia and New York
  • 7 ppm in Tennessee, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and in Canada in Ontario
  • 3.5 ppm in Ohio

The mold that produces DON, Fusarium graminearum, thrives in cool damp weather and lives on commodities such as wheat, corn, barley and ensilages. Animals that eat feed contaminated with DON can face potentially severe health repercussions including feed refusal, vomiting, diarrhea and immunosuppression. Swine are especially sensitive to the toxin.

Remember, unlike the fungi that produce them, mycotoxins are chemical substances that are not alive and therefore cannot be killed. There are no proven treatments to neutralize a mycotoxin while preserving the integrity of the commodity.

Properly monitoring for DON and other mycotoxins is vital, including obtaining representative samples to catch toxin hotspots in grain commodities. For more information on DON testing, please see Neogen’s Mycotoxin Handbook here.

Check out Neogen’s latest mycotoxin report here.

For more on Neogen’s mycotoxin tests, click here.

WATT Ag Net also has an outgoing webinar series on grain and meat available here.

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