How can the climate change influence the mycotoxin occurrence?
Read more about this topic in this month’s blog post!
Expect the "Unexpected":
Aflatoxin - What lesson can we learn from last year harvest?
Heavy rainfall over Europe during the past week has swollen many rivers past their flood stage, wreaking havoc across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic. Over the last decades severe fluvial floods of trans-national dimensions have taken place in Europe. There is evidence that in particular transboundary floods can be more severe in their magnitude, affect larger areas, and do cause more financial damage.
Fungal growth and the ability to produce mycotoxins like aflatoxins are dependent on climatic conditions. Heat, drought stress and heavy rainfall at dry-down, are known to favor the growth of Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, the fungi producing aflatoxins.
Due to changing weather patterns, even well planned crops in usually aflatoxin-free areas may become exposed to conditions favorable for contamination.
The 2012 drought in the US raised worldwide awareness of the mycotoxin problem. Here in Europe, we are/were faced with a similar challenge: The aflatoxin scandal which started in Serbia and spread to Germany and the Netherlands. The contaminated corn was found to originate mainly from countries in southeastern Europe like Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia and Italy. Concentrations of aflatoxin B1 exceeding up to 40 times the regulatory limit of 5 ppb in compound feed for dairy cattle, were found in corn samples (for example 204 ppb aflatoxin B1 in corn from Serbia).
Some 1-6 % of the consumed aflatoxin B1 present in feedstuffs can be carried over as aflatoxin M1 into the milk of dairy cows. From last months‘ news, it was obvious the significant economic impact through loss of milk sales. The regulatory limit of 0.05 ppb aflatoxin M1 in milk was set to protect children, elderly and the sick who consume milk.
Monitoring aflatoxin B1 in feedstuffs and aflatoxin M1 in milk is an important part in correct mycotoxin risk management. With Serbia’s harvest reduced by 45 % due to the severe drought of 2012, an increased awareness of the expected mycotoxin occurrence could have helped dairy farmers. References available upon request!
For further information contact the author:
Christina SCHWAB PhD.
BIOMIN Holding GmbH
3130 Herzogenburg, Austria