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Anticipating the Mycotoxin Challenge Possible via Biomin Prediction Tool - INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES


Source: Biomin via Feedinfo

13 October 2020 - Results of statistical analysis by Biomin reveal that many parts of Europe can expect potentially harmful levels of mycotoxin contamination in the upcoming 2020 corn and wheat harvest. Biomin is able to make such forecasts via its Mycotoxin Prediction Tool which uses algorithms that draw upon 15 factors and the extensive proprietary data set compiled through the Biomin Mycotoxin Survey.

Today, we talk to Dr. Wolfgang Schweiger, Scientist at Biomin, and Konstantinos Sarantis (MSc), Product Manager Mycotoxin Risk Management Biomin, about the recent predictions, about mycotoxins risks in broiler and fattener pig production (a growing area of interest for Biomin's customers), and what else is in the innovation pipeline.

[Feedinfo] Previously in June (a few months ahead of the 2020 corn and wheat harvest), Biomin had warned that many parts of Europe would be faced with potentially harmful levels of mycotoxin contamination. What technology does Biomin have in place to make such predictions?

[Wolfgang Schweiger] Biomin’s Mycotoxin Prediction Tool developed by our digital lab at the Biomin Research Center is based on published academic models for corn and wheat and adapted for global use according to validation with our extensive worldwide Biomin Mycotoxin Survey and a newly developed system of integrating global weather and improving the predictions year after year based on new survey results. Among other inputs, our model utilises actual hourly weather data for 61,000 points around the globe and weather forecast for up to 8 months ahead with increasingly accurate weather forecasts.

Dr. Wolfgang Schweiger
Scientist
Biomin

[Wolfgang Schweiger] Biomin’s Mycotoxin Prediction Tool developed by our digital lab at the Biomin Research Center is based on published academic models for corn and wheat and adapted for global use according to validation with our extensive worldwide Biomin Mycotoxin Survey and a newly developed system of integrating global weather and improving the predictions year after year based on new survey results. Among other inputs, our model utilises actual hourly weather data for 61,000 points around the globe and weather forecast for up to 8 months ahead with increasingly accurate weather forecasts.

[Feedinfo] Mycotoxin risk levels are known to vary widely within each region. How is your predictive data able to take this into account?

[Wolfgang Schweiger] The results provided are an average for each region. The average risk for a region is then weighted giving more weight to predictions with greater corn or wheat production. For an individual farm, there are a variety of factors beyond weather that affect the risk. This is taken into account in the general predictions because of validation with actual survey results. We have also now entered into an agreement with MyToolBox platform that allows for tailored information for specific fields and farms. This forecasting model is even more directed at growers and predictions are for individual fields based on the entered data on crop type, exact location and development timing as well as soil tillage regimes and previous crop.

[Feedinfo] With the extra knowledge gained by predictive data, what do you urge your European customers do in the run-up to the harvest? What kind of mycotoxin deactivation strategies can be acted on three months prior to harvest?

[Wolfgang Schweiger] The predictions help make a decision about whether to consider earlier testing or additional testing for feed material from certain areas. For growers, a high risk would encourage earlier testing and if contamination is confirmed then potentially earlier harvesting to ensure that the feed is within regulatory limits and to reduce feed risk. There is additional information on mycotoxin risk management for cropping on the MyToolbox platform and for animal production on the Biomin website and on the knowledge website mycotoxins.info

[Feedinfo] Your latest data indicates that the highest risk by far for corn in most of Europe is deoxynivalenol (DON). How are your customers in South, Central and Eastern Europe reacting to these findings?

[Konstantinos Sarantis] DON is the mycotoxin with the highest prevalence in Europe regardless of the year. It is a constant threat for European crops and farm animals. Typical clinical signs of DON are feed refusal and vomiting. In addition, DON targets gut integrity creating gut health issues and allowing pathogens entrance in circulation. The awareness of these negative effects is high among animal producers. With this early detection information supplied by Biomin, our partners are able to implement sound mycotoxin risk management plans in order to protect their valuable production performance.

Konstantinos Sarantis (MSc)
Product Manager Mycotoxin Risk Management
Biomin

[Feedinfo] You say that some of your key customers are increasing attention to mycotoxins in monogastric fattening animals (broilers and finishing pigs) as they have seen effects on animal health and performance. How has Biomin helped them address the issue?

[Konstantinos Sarantis] The Biomin Mycotoxin Survey is an excellent tool to assess historical mycotoxin risk in feedstuffs. Our survey reveals a high percent of mycotoxin co-contamination, meaning that several mycotoxins are present in a single sample. Co-contamination is widespread and in fact more common than a single mycotoxin being present in a feed material. Multiple toxins even below regulatory limits may lead to combinatorial effects, raising the overall health risk and impair growth performance without showing clinical signs. A major concern is their action as predisposing factors. Mycotoxins can interfere with immune system, aid the pressure from infectious agents present in a farm and result in vaccination failure. Biomin acts on multiple levels to support clients, from farm solutions to sound research. We provide new insights on the ways that mycotoxins can affect health, production and profitability. We work closely with our partners in order to give them customized services and solutions that ensure healthy profits and animals.

[Feedinfo] How have you adapted the Mycofix® portfolio in recent times to deal with the changing nature of the mycotoxin challenge?

[Konstantinos Sarantis] The Mycofix® product line provides a full toolbox of solutions for different mycotoxin challenges. That allows our customers to choose an effective solution in regards to their specific mycotoxin challenge and their specific needs to protect their animals and their profits. In line with this, we recently reviewed and enlarged our portfolio in order to have a full suite of options available to broiler and fattener producers. Alongside Mycofix® Select and Mycofix® Focus, we have recently introduced Mycofix® PROtect to a select number of clients in this segment and the feedback so far has been quite positive. Our goal is to offer our partners a full tool box on mycotoxin risk management with products and services.

[Feedinfo] Biomin also has a full R&D pipeline of targeted enzymes against mycotoxins. Can you let us know what we can expect from the company in this area in 2021?

[Konstantinos Sarantis] Today, it is common knowledge that some major mycotoxins (especially those produced by Fusarium) with high prevalence cannot by adsorbed by binders. Biomin has invested very early in research on enzymatic biotransformation. FUMzyme®, a unique purified enzyme for the degradation of fumonisins, is already available as part of Mycofix product line (backed by EU authorization). For 2021, we are planning the launch our new enzymatic solution against zearalenone. Several additional target mycotoxins are being investigated and are making their way through our R&D process. This ensures that we will bring our customers the most advanced mycotoxin deactivators now and in the years ahead.


Published in association with Biomin