Mycotoxins at the Start of the Food Chain in Costa Rica: Analysis of Six Fusarium Toxins and Ochratoxin A between 2013 and 2017 in Animal Feed and Aflatoxin M1 in Dairy Products.


Centro de Investigación en Nutrición Animal (CINA), Universidad de Costa Rica, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo, San José 11501-2060, Costa Rica. [Email]


Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites, produced by fungi of genera Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium (among others), which produce adverse health effects on humans and animals (carcinogenic, teratogenic and immunosuppressive). In addition, mycotoxins negatively affect the productive parameters of livestock (e.g., weight, food consumption, and food conversion). Epidemiological studies are considered necessary to assist stakeholders with the process of decision-making regarding the control of mycotoxins in processing environments. This study addressed the prevalence in feed ingredients and compound feed of eight different types of toxins, including metabolites produced by Fusarium spp. (Deoxynivalenol/3-acetyldeoxynivalenol, T-2/HT-2 toxins, zearalenone and fumonisins) and two additional toxins (i.e., ochratoxin A (OTA) and aflatoxin M1 (AFM1)) from different fungal species, for over a period of five years. On the subject of Fusarium toxins, higher prevalences were observed for fumonisins (n = 80/113, 70.8%) and DON (n = 212/363, 58.4%), whereas, for OTA, a prevalence of 40.56% was found (n = 146/360). In the case of raw material, mycotoxin contamination exceeding recommended values were observed in cornmeal for HT-2 toxin (n = 3/24, 12.5%), T-2 toxin (n = 3/61, 4.9%), and ZEA (n = 2/45, 4.4%). In contrast, many compound feed samples exceeded recommended values; in dairy cattle feed toxins such as DON (n = 5/147, 3.4%), ZEA (n = 6/150, 4.0%), T-2 toxin (n = 10/171, 5.9%), and HT-2 toxin (n = 13/132, 9.8%) were observed in high amounts. OTA was the most common compound accompanying Fusarium toxins (i.e., 16.67% of co-occurrence with ZEA). This study also provided epidemiological data for AFM1 in liquid milk. The outcomes unveiled a high prevalence of contamination (i.e., 29.6-71.1%) and several samples exceeding the regulatory threshold. Statistical analysis exposed no significant climate effect connected to the prevalence of diverse types of mycotoxins.


Fusarium mycotoxins co-contamination,HPLC analysis,feed prevalence and safety,ochratoxin A,

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