Additional research and new detection standard enhances mycotoxin monitoring in China

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Richard Drury
© GettyImages/Richard Drury

Related tags: China, Mycotoxins

There has been an increase in the level of domestic research on feed mycotoxins in China in recent years, finds a review.

In addition, a standard to detect mycotoxins in feed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, which was formulated by the Institute of Agricultural Quality Standards and Detection Technology of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, has been in official use in China since April 2021, according to the reviewers.

“The successful development of the standard detection method has expanded the monitoring scope for mycotoxins in feed and livestock products in China.”

Future directions

However, the authors stressed that China still lacks systematic research and omni-directional and multi-angle monitoring of mycotoxins, with the team citing work by Selvaraj et al., 2015, in this respect.

Monitoring mycotoxin levels in livestock feed ingredients will remain key to ensuring optimal animal health and human food safety, they said.

In addition, heightened focus is needed to prevent or reduce the contamination of roughage by various mycotoxins, they noted.

Moreover, research reports on the relationship between mycotoxins and climate are still rare in China – the authors call for a boost in domestic research in this area.

Common mycotoxins

Currently, aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), fumonisin B1 (FB1), zearalenone (ZEA) and deoxynivalenol (DON) are the most common mycotoxin contaminants in China (Hao et al., 2016).

The review shows high detection rates for ZEA, AFB1 and DON in various grain, oilseed and industrial byproducts in use in China,  

“In the study of Ma et al., AFB1 was detected in all maize bran, maize germ meal, DDGS, wheat bran and rice bran (Ma et al., 2018), and the detection rates of AFB1 in soybean meal and broken rice exceeded 87.5% and 76.9% respectively. The contamination rate of ZEA in maize skin, maize germ meal, DDGS and broken rice was 100%, and the detection rate for ZEA in soybean meal was more than 90%.”

Finished feed contamination

Some mycotoxins in commercial feed in China come from contaminated feed raw materials, while others are produced during processing or storage, noted the review.

Contamination by DON, FB1, AFB1, ZEA and T-2 is therefore very common in commercial feed, said the authors.

“Wang studied the contamination by ZEA, FB1 and T-2 in samples of concentrate mixture, concentrate and premix collected from Shandong Province (Wang et al., 2013). The results showed that the positive detection rates for ZEA, FB1 and T-2 were 76.7%–87.3%, 94.7%–100% and 79.3%–80% respectively.

“Li found that the contamination rates for ZEA, AFB1 and OTA in 76 mixtures were 14%, 7% and 3% respectively (Li et al., 2014).

“The detection rate of AFB1 in 200 dairy cow concentrates collected by Han from 10 provinces in China reached 42% (Han et al., 2013).

“In 2016, the positive rates for ZEA, AFB1 and DON were as high as 99.5%, 100% and 100% respectively, and more than 96.4% of the full price feed samples collected from many regions in China detected three toxins at the same time (Ma et al., 2018).”

EU-Sino project

Developing new tools and enhancing existing ones was the mission of MyToolBox—a four-year EU-project that included Chinese partners and joint research efforts.

In April 2019,a stakeholder workshop including group discussions was organized in Beijing, as part of the project, namely to identify future directions in mycotoxin research and management in China and their role in China–EU relations.

The event addressed topics such as biocontrol, forecasting, sampling and analysis, silo management, detoxification, and the development of safe use options for contaminated materials.

The discussions, summarized in a paper​, identified a critical need for smart, integrated strategies to address mycotoxin issues to attain safer food and feed, and to minimize losses and export rejections.

"Managing data on when, where and the size of mycotoxin contamination events and identifying the institution(s) to manage them are complex issues in China. Studies of microbes and novel, genetically-altered enzymes to limit pre-harvest contamination and to manage post-harvest product detoxification and alternate uses of contaminated materials are in the early stages in China. Further efforts are needed to increase the visibility of mycotoxin problems beyond the scientific and research communities."

Related topics: R&D, Asia, Mycotoxins

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