A mycotoxin survey, conducted by Belgium based feed additives supplier Nutriad, covered 55 samples across all regions of Great Britain and Ireland. More than 300 analyses were conducted to test for the occurrence of the six mycotoxins most frequently found in agricultural commodities intended for animal production.

The survey provides insight into the incidences of aflatoxins (Afla), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 toxin, fumonisin B1 (FB1) and ochratoxin A (OTA) across all regions of the U.K. and Ireland.

This year's continental European maize harvest has shown increased contamination with the mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN). The levels of both these mycotoxins in some samples of corn harvested in Eastern and Central Europe reached such critical values that it would not be safe to feed that corn to sows and piglets and special care should be taken also in dairy cows and calves

All analyzed samples were wheat. Typically, wheat levels of DON and zearalenone tend to be lower in northern England and Scotland; moderate in western England, Wales and Ireland; and highest in southern and southeastern England. All 55 samples were collected almost immediately after the harvest and the probability that some storage mycotoxins will have developed (OTA) was low. Wheat samples were sampled directly from farms or animal feed production sites.

All six mycotoxins were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC MS/MS). For the purpose of data analysis, non-detection levels were based on the limits of quantification (LOQ) of the test method for each mycotoxin: AfB1 < 0.5 μg/kg; ZEN < 10 μg/kg; DON < 75 μg/kg; FB1 < 125 μg/kg; OTA < 1 μg/kg and T-2 toxin < 4 μg/kg.

The Nutriad survey shows that 22 percent of wheat samples were contaminated with DON and none of the samples contained AfB1. Only 2 percent of samples contained OTA and FB1, but this result was expected as it is well known that OTA is a typical storage mycotoxin and FB1 is preferably produced on maize. The average concentrations of all recovered mycotoxins were low while the highest concentration of DON found in one of the samples reached only 280 μg/kg. Although 9 percent of the samples contained T-2 toxin, a mycotoxin extremely toxic for poultry, its maximum concentration reached only 11 μg/kg, and this level is negligible.

The Nutriad wheat mycotoxin survey concludes that this year’s harvest of wheat in the U.K. and Ireland is of very good quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination. Based on the results of this survey conducted immediately after the 2014 harvest, this year’s wheat crop in the U.K. and Ireland might be considered safe for inclusion into finished feed rations for all animal species.