The role of mycotoxin adsorbents in the feed industry

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Twenty years ago clays were used as anti-caking agents. In the 80's, Research was done by Dr. Taylor and Dr. Phillips 87-88 with Hydrated Sodium Calcium Aluminum Silicates (HSCAS) as an Aflatoxin adsorbent.
Other compounds tested: Activated carbon, sodium bentonite, calcium bentonite and zeolites.
Adsorbed Aflatoxin, but not with the same efficiency or potency as HSCAS.
Many products adsorb but do not retain the Aflatoxin. HSCAS adsorb and retain 95%t6 Aflatoxin. Most bentonites/zeolites were tested in vitro or in vivo at levels of 0.5 -1 ppm (500 to 1,000 ppb). Most of the HSCAS were tested in vitro or in vivo at 5 - 10 ppm (5,000 to 10,000 ppb).

Many mycotoxin adsorbents sometimes were effective and sometimes were not due to the following:

a) If the feed is highly contaminated the binding sites are filled therefore, the adsorbent is not able to absorb and retain all the Aflatoxin.

b) If the mycotoxin problem was other than Aflatoxin, the binder was not able to adsorb the other types of mycotoxin.

Awareness of the existence of many types of mycotoxins started in the early 90's, some of them more toxic than Aflatoxin. Test showed that 95% of commercial feeds have more than one type of mycotoxin specially when SAMPLES ARE TAKEN FROM THE FEEDERS.
Tests done in the 90's proved that the combination of toxins at low levels of toxicity can be more toxic than just one toxin at a high level of toxicity. Most mycotoxin absorbents only adsorb Aflatoxin, therefore if other mycotoxins are present there are no results.

A NEW CONCEPT: A well balanced combination of different HSCAS that are activated by heat drying process: you obtain a synergistic effect increasing the capacity and spectrum of the mycotoxin binder.


  • What are mycotoxins?
    Mycotoxins are metabolites from molds. Very harmful to animals, even at low levels. They pose a significant problem, specially in tropical and humid regions.

    If we use a mold inhibitor, do we need to use a Mycotoxin Adsorbent?
    A mold inhibitor only controls the growth of molds but doesn't do anything against the mycotoxins. Mycotoxins remain in the grain.

  • If I have to choose between a mold inhibitor and a mycotoxin binder which one should I use?
    We always recommend to use both. If you have to choose only one, use the mycotoxin adsorbent.

    a) Mycotoxins cause more problems than mold.

    b) If you use only a mold inhibitor, you still have the mycotoxins that were present in the feed.

  • Do mycotoxins only have an effect over conversion and mortality?
    They not only affect conversion and mortality but more important, they also affect the immunologic system causing secondary problems:

    - Vaccines do not perform as they should.

    -Animals are easily affected by bacteria such as Salmonella, E coli, etc.

    In most cases if you control the mycotoxin all secondary problems are reduced.

  • Why did we not get positive results when we used a mycotoxin adsorbent?
    a) Most mycotoxin absorbents ONLY bind Aflatoxin

    b) The correct dosage of most mycotoxin absorbents in order to be effective is 5 to 20 kg per ton.

  • When do we need to add a mycotoxin adsorbent?
    Whenever you have mycotoxin present in the feed. Ninety Five percent of feeds have mycotoxin contamination and specially in humid and warm countries.

    If there are very low level of mycotoxins. Do we need to use a mycotoxin adsorbent?

    Whenever several mycotoxins are combined at low levels, they have a synergistic effect that can be even more toxic than one mycotoxin at a high level. You need a wide spectrum mycotoxin adsorbent.

  • From where do you recommend to take samples to be analyzed for mycotoxins levels?
    It is important to take samples from both, raw ingredients and the finished feed. It is also very important to take samples from Feeders to know what levels of mycotoxins you have at farm level.

    Difference between samples of raw ingredients and feeders

    20 ppb of Aflatoxin
    30 to 60 ppb of Aflatoxin
    2 Mycotoxins 2 Mycotoxins + Other mycotoxins of fusarium group


    NOTE: a) Molds, under stress increase the production of mycotoxins. The stress is caused by changes in temperature, humidity, oxygen and nutrient availability.

    You can have high mold count with very little levels of mycotoxin. However if you submit the mold to stress the feed may suddenly have a high content of mycotoxins.

    b) Sub-dosages of mold inhibitor may increase mold growth.

  • Does the Mycotoxin absorbents absorb nutrients?
    Always request tests, both In vitro and specially In vivo to show if the clay adsorbed the nutrients.

    Trials In vivo: Control vs. Control + Mycotoxin Adsorbent

    If the control + the mycotoxin Adsorbent does worst than the control, it will be an indication that it is absorbing nutrients.



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