With the current weather conditions, we felt it would be appropriate to speak on the development and potential dangers of Mycotoxins. No matter where you are farming, if weather conditions are amiable for mold growth, the chances mycotoxins start to appear in your crops is significantly increased. Molds that are within the Mycophyta family have severe human and animal consequences. Our Meat Speciation and GMO special here at Midwest Laboratories, Brian Hodges provided us with the following information on the topic.

Brian’s Take

Mycotoxins are metabolites of molds that have negative effects such as illness and economic loss for humans, animals, and crops. The worldwide contamination of foods and feeds with mycotoxins is a significant problem. Aflatoxins, ochratoxins, trichothecenes, zearalenone, fumonisins, tremorgenic toxins, and ergot alkaloids are the mycotoxins of greatest agro-economic importance. Often, more than one mycotoxin is found on a contaminated substrate. Mycotoxins occur more frequently in areas with a hot and humid climate, favorable for the growth of molds. These molds usually enter the body through ingestion of contaminated foods, inhalation of toxigenic spores, and direct dermal contact. This contamination process is known as mycotoxicoses.

What is Mycoses?

Mycoses in humans & animals characterized as food or feed related are considered non-contagious, non-transferable, non-infectious, and non-traceable to microorganisms other than fungi. Clinical symptoms usually subside upon removal of contaminated food or feed. A wide range of commodities can be infected with mycotoxins both pre- and post-harvest.

Where is it coming from?

Factors influencing the presence of mycotoxins in foods or feeds include environmental conditions related to storage, such as drying. Hard to control factors, occur both internally through fungal strain specificity, strain variation, and instability of toxigenic properties, and externally through climate. Mycotoxins have various acute and chronic effects on humans and animals (especially monogastrics).  This is dependent on species and susceptibility of an animal within a species. Ruminants, however, are more resistant to the adverse effects of mycotoxins, due to the 4-part digestive system capable of degrading mycotoxins.

The economic impact of mycotoxins includes loss of human and animal life, increased health care and veterinary care costs. Also, reduced livestock production, disposal of contaminated foods and feeds, and investment in research to reduce the severity of the problem. Although efforts have continued internationally to set guidelines to control mycotoxins, practical measures have not adequately been implemented.

However, Midwest Laboratories can test to help detect mycotoxins to save your product from harmful byproduct. Visit our landing page today for more information, a look at our special, harvest testing, and for additional resources.