EFSA backs mycotoxin-deactivating silage additive

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

EFSA backs mycotoxin-deactivating silage additive

Related tags: Efsa, Dairy, fumonisins, Mycotoxin

Biomin says a positive opinion from EFSA could pay the wave for EU authorization of its FUMzyme branded mycotoxin-deactivating enzyme for use in silages.

The Austrian company, recently acquired by DSM, is seeking an application for EU registration of FUMzyme for fermenting feed including silages.

This week saw the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) publish a favorable scientific opinion​ on the safety and efficacy of FUMzyme in fermenting feeds in all species.

FUMzyme, a fumonisin esterase, is a purified enzyme that detoxifies fumonisins – a category of mycotoxins produced by Fusarium fungi— into non-toxic metabolites. Previously, FUMzyme had received EU authorization for application in pig and poultry diets.

“The additive has the capacity to degrade fumonisins in fermenting feed, with a fumonisin content within the guidance limits operating in the EU, when used at the minimum recommended dose of 40 U/kg feed.

“This conclusion is based on the results from three studies in which statistically significant fumonisins reduction was recorded in treated silage,”​ noted EFSA.

The FEEDAP Panel stressed that the efficacy has been demonstrated only in silages, not in other fermenting feeds such as liquid ones.

The EFSA experts found no safety concerns in relation to the use of the additive for target animals, consumers and the environment.  

“This [opinion] represents an important step in achieving EU authorization of FUMzyme for use in silages,” ​said Ursula Hofstetter, head of global product management, mycotoxins, Biomin.

EU silage production 

Some 4.9 million hectares of farmland was dedicated to maize silage production in the EU27 area in 2015, according to Biomin data.

Maize silage accounts for 50 to 75% of the content of a dairy cow's diet, depending on the system of production and the possibility to grow corn [maize], the Austrian producer noted.

A Biomin spokesperson told this publication: "We see a valuable role for mycotoxin management in silages in order to counter antinutritional factors, prevent mycotoxin-induced health challenges and protect producers' profits."

Dairy industry challenges

The company outlined how it is aiming to market this control against fumonisins to dairy farmers once EU authorization is achieved.

Biomin said its most recent global mycotoxin survey indicates that fumonisins occur in 80% of over 6,000 corn samples analyzed worldwide.

Climate change, said the company, creates a more favorable environment for the spread of Fusarium fungi, contributing to a rise in fumonisin contamination of crops.

“Fumonisins and mycotoxins in general are becoming a concern for the dairy industry,”​ claims Hofstetter.

Biomin referenced a recent scientific study at the University Piacenza showing that low levels of fumonisins and deoxynivalenol, another Fusarium mycotoxin, can significantly lower average daily milk yield, reduce dry matter digestibility and contribute to liver damage in dairy cows.

“The challenge for dairy farmers stems from the fact that fumonisins pass through the rumen largely intact,”​ said Hofstetter. “They have been proven to damage the intestinal epithelium, which decreases nutrient absorption and causes leaky gut. This translates into impaired performance and higher susceptibility to disease.”

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