I have received many inquiries on distinguishing the difference between molds and mycotoxins in animal feed.

 


Molds are microorganisms that proliferate on organic material when heat and moisture increase. Molds consume the organic matter in cereals and other feed ingredients. As a result of their metabolism they produce toxins or mycotoxins, which they release in their immediate environment.

 


The confusion usually arises when it comes to control measures for molds and mycotoxins. Molds are destroyed by excess heat (for example, during pelleting or extrusion), but such “sterile” material is not protected against new mold growth. Alternatively, molds can be eliminated by the use of certain organic acids, which have the negative effect of increased feed cost and corrosiveness. Unfortunately, neither method affects in any way mycotoxins already present.

 


Mycotoxins are neutralized by three methods

1.      Enzymatic destruction

2.      Mineral adsorption

3.      Yeast-based binding

 


No single anti-mycotoxin binder is effective against all different types of mycotoxins, and such products do not affect mold growth. Thus, in essence, molds and mycotoxins are closely related, but their control is distinct and requires a different approach.