Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by moulds,
mostly belonging to the three genera Aspergillus, Penicillium and
Fusarium. They are produced in cereal grains as well as forages
before, during and after harvest, in various environmental conditions.
Mycotoxins generally display great chemical heterogeneity and approximately
400 of these fungal metabolites are considered to be toxic. Mycotoxin
metabolism is complex and involves pathways of bioactivation and detoxification
in both humans and animals. Detoxification occurs via biotransformation
mediated by enzymes in the host cells and in the digestive microbial flora.
Some of the toxins or their metabolites may become fixed in animal or
human tissues. However, most are eliminated in the urine, faeces and milk.
In animals, toxicity is generally revealed as chronic minor troubles and
only rarely causes death. The presence of mycotoxins in feeds may decrease
feed intake and affect animal performance. In addition, the possible presence
of toxic residues in edible animal products (milk, meat, offal), may have
some detrimental effects on human health. Maximum acceptable doses in
feeds and milk have been set for certain mycotoxins by international authorities.
The potential risks of mycotoxins may be controlled by checking plant
material for fungal contamination, by improving methods of cultivation,
harvest and storage, by eliminating or diluting toxins from the contaminated
food or feeds and by using adsorbents to reduce the bioavailability of
toxins in the digestive tracts of animals. PDFFulltextXMLReferencesCitation
How to cite this article
M.A. Abdel-Wahhab and A.M. Kholif, 2008. Mycotoxins in Animal Feeds and Prevention Strategies: A Review. Asian Journal of Animal Sciences, 2: 7-25.