Mycotoxinebinders – a way to reduce contamination
Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by several fungi, particularly by many species of Aspergillus, Fusarium, Penicillium, Claviceps, and Alternaria. Mycotoxins are produced by fungi during growth, handling and storage of agricultural commodities.
The most extensively investigated mycotoxins are aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), ochratoxin A (OTA), zearalenone (ZEA), deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 and HT-2 toxins, and fumonisins (FUM).
Mycotoxins have a diversity of chemical structures which accounts for different biological effects. They can be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, oestrogenic, neurotoxic, immunotoxic, etc. In farm animals, mycotoxins can cause, among others, decreased performance, feed refusal, poor feed conversion, diminished body weight gain, immune suppression, reproductive disorders, and residues in animal food products.
Although the prevention of mycotoxin contamination in the field is the main goal of agricultural and food industries, under certain environmental conditions the contamination of various commodities with mycotoxins is unavoidable.
Another way of trying to reduce the uptake of mycotoxins from contaminated feed is the use of mycotoxin binders. The aim of these additives is to inhibit the uptake of mycotoxins by an animal in vivo.
These adsorbent materials are intended to act like a ‘chemical sponge’ and adsorb mycotoxins in the gastrointestinal tract, thus preventing the uptake and subsequent distribution to target organs. The efficacy of the adsorption appears to depend on the chemical structure of both the adsorbent and the mycotoxin.
There are numerous ways to demonstrate the in vivo activity of mycotoxin binders but animal trials are costly and time consuming.
In vitro trials are being used to evaluate the efficacy of mycotoxin binders. Adsorption is the mechanism of action of the majority of toxin binders. However the adsorption process is reversible and sensitive to pH conditions. Low pH conditions are present in the foregut, higher pH conditions occur at the lower part of the intestine.
The R&D department of laboratory ECCA performs in vitro screening experiments to evaluate the adsorption capacity of binders.
Different binders, different pH's and different mycotoxins can be combined depending on the required setup of the customer.
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