Molds and Mycotoxins - Mycotoxin Levels and Interpretation

  • Fusarium fungus produces Deoxynivalenol (DON or vomitoxin), Zearalenone, T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin, Fumonisin and Nivalenol.
  • Note that results may be expressed in a number of different ways. Therefore remember: ppm = mg/kg = ug/g
  • Always check the dry matter basis on which the results are given - many cases this is as-fed. Correct for moisture level; divide by the decimal dry matter. eg. 1 ppm on 30% dry matter basis is 1 / 0.3 = 3.3 ppm DM.
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada guidelines for DON (Vomitoxin) in animal feeds are:
    • pigs, calves, lambs, lactating cows and lactating ewes, 1 ppm in the diet,
    • adult cattle, adult sheep and poultry, 5 ppm in the diet.
  • United States FDA guidelines for DON (Vomitoxin) in feeds in the US are:
    • 10 ppm in grains and by-products fed to chickens, ruminating beef and feedlot cattle older than 4 months. Maximum ingredient level 50% of total ration. (ie. 5 ppm in the final ration).
    • 5 ppm in ingredients for swine with a maximum inclusion rate of 20% of total ration. (ie. 1 ppm in the final ration).
    • 5 ppm in ingredients for all other animals with a maximum inclusion of 40% of the ration. (ie. 2 ppm in the final ration).
  • Pennsylvania State University suggested guidelines on mycotoxin levels in feeds are (Adapted from Penn State)

    Total Ration (on a Dry Matter basis)

    Mycotoxin
    Concern Level1
    (ppm)
    Potentially Harmful
    Cattle (ppm) Swine (ppm)
    DON/Vomitoxin
    0.56
    2.5 to 6.0
    0.6 to 1.0
    Zearalenone
    0.56
    3.9 to 7.0
    0.6 to 3.9
    T-2
    0.25
    0.7 to 1.5
    0.7 to 1.5
    HT-2
    0.25
    1.5 to 3.0
    1.5 to 3.0
  • Notes on the Penn State University table:
    • 1Concern level: Indicates favourable conditions for mycotoxin production. May require further testing, especially if moderate symptoms are present. Limit the amount of suspect feed fed if performance and/or health symptoms persist. Discontinue use if severe production decreases occur and/or acute clinical symptoms appear.
    • Potentially Harmful: Mycotoxins at these levels suggest toxin involvement in depressed performance and/or acute clinical symptoms. Discontinue feeding, at least temporarily, sample and test.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Tom Wright - Dairy Cattle Nutritionist/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 08 August 1996
Last Reviewed: 15 January 2016