Alltech survey reveals 25 percent of clay-based mycotoxin binders are contaminated with heavy metals above maximum EU limits

Date of publication : 9/24/2015
Source : Alltech Mycotoxins

The results of the 2015 Alltech heavy metal, dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) survey are in. Following previous surveys of trace minerals, Alltech undertook a survey throughout South Asia on samples of clay-, yeast- and enzyme-based mycotoxin binders. Data suggests inorganic clay-based mycotoxin binders used by feed manufacturers and farmers could be contaminated with toxic levels of at least two different heavy metals, potentially compromising animal health.

Forty-eight samples were submitted as part of the survey and analysed for arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) with an Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) within Alltech’s extensive laboratory facilities in Bangalore, India.

Alltech’s laboratory in Bangalore, where 25 percent of mycotoxin binder samples tested in the Alltech heavy metal survey were found to be contaminated.

Dr. Lokesh Gupta, technical manager, Alltech South Asia, said, “The results were quite alarming. All of the clay-based mycotoxin binders tested contained a mix of potentially toxic elements: lead, arsenic and cadmium.”

One hundred percent of the inorganic clay-based mycotoxin binders samples collected from feed manufacturers and farmers were contaminated with at least two different heavy metals, potentially compromising animal health and performance. Twenty-five percent of these samples were contaminated with at least one heavy metal above EU maximum levels; either with lead (6.25%), arsenic (12.5%) or cadmium (6.25%). Extremely high levels were seen in some samples where cadmium was detected at up to 9.23 ppm whereas the acceptable EU limit is just 2 ppm.

High levels of heavy metals were detected using Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) in clay-based mycotoxin binders samples in a survey completed in August 2015.

“These heavy metals can play havoc with animal health, suppressing the immune system or damaging the liver and kidneys,” said Dr. Gupta.

“High contamination levels of heavy metals are commonly found in clay-based mycotoxin binders due to the mining and manufacturing processes. PCBs and dioxins are emerging outcomes of environmental pollution, resulting in bio-accumulation in soil and in turn, entry into the food chain,” said Anitha Upadhyaya, quality manager, Alltech Asia-Pacific. “The results emphasized that feed manufacturers and farmers should be asking suppliers to provide evidence that their products are free from heavy metal contamination considering the impact on animal health and performance as well as consumer safety.


Heavy metal contamination can affect animal health.

Selecting a mycotoxin binder

If mycotoxin poisoning is suspected, the most effective course of action is to add a mycotoxin binder to the feed and monitor the results. By absorbing harmful mycotoxins, the binder will quickly act against the effects of any mycotoxins present, restoring health and productivity.

For best results, Nicholas Adams, global director, Alltech Mycotoxin Management program, recommends selecting a mycotoxin binder with the following criteria in mind:

  • Scientifically proven. Ask for data from scientific and field studies showing effectiveness of the product in the animal. Trials in a laboratory are not a reliable indicator of effectiveness, nor are simple farm studies.
  • Clay-based not the best option. Not only can clay-based mycotoxin binders be contaminated with heavy metals, they are not effective against all known mycotoxins. They can also bind to and remove valuable vitamins and minerals, depriving animals of nutrients at a time when they are most needed.
  • Broad spectrum. The ideal binder is able to deal with the broadest range of mycotoxins simultaneously.
  • Fast acting. A good binder should interact with the mycotoxin in a short period of time.
  • Stable. Mycotoxin binders should be temperature and pH stable.
  • Beware of products purporting to bio-transform mycotoxins. The products of this bio-transformation can be more harmful than the original mycotoxin.

“Clearly the ideal mycotoxin binder must be effective at sequestering mycotoxins without detrimentally affecting the animal. There’s no doubt that the latest organically-derived, yeast-based mycotoxin binders perform extremely well in this respect,” said Adams. “For many years, Alltech has applied MYCOSORB®, its yeast-based technology, to mycotoxin absorption. MYCOSORB® A+ is the next generation of mycotoxin binders, offering superior binding capabilities, a broad adsorption profile and efficacy. MYCOSORB A+ can reduce the damaging effects of mycotoxins on animal health.”

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