Mycotoxins have long been recognised as a significant challenge in livestock production, jeopardising animal health, performance, and overall profitability. However, according to Adisseo, some in the industry might still be downplaying the impact these compounds can have on their operations or relying on misconceptions or outdated information when developing their mitigation strategies.
In its new guidebook on mycotoxins, called “Mycopedia”, the company has set itself the mission of empowering industry professionals, who may not be experts in these toxins but require comprehensive knowledge to effectively mitigate their adverse effects, with the latest in insights and opinions from academic and industry experts in the field. In this Industry Perspectives, the company’s Global Category Manager for Feed Integrity, Adrien Rivayrand, and it’s Project Director for Monogastric Solutions, Olga Averkieva take Feedinfo through how this guidebook came about and dive deep into some of the key themes and topics being addressed, including what the future of mycotoxin mitigation in animal nutrition and production might look like.
[Feedinfo] Why did Adisseo feel it so important to create Mycopedia? Are mycotoxins an area where you are seeing gaps in industry knowledge?
[Adrien Rivayrand] Mycotoxins pose a significant problem for the animal feed industry due to their detrimental effects on animal health and performance. Their financial impact can be substantial. Adisseo’s mission is to help feed the planet in an affordable, safe and sustainable way that is also high in quality. Supporting key actors in animal nutrition to deal with mycotoxin related risks is therefore a priority for us. This is what our Mycopedia publication is about: a practical guide for people who are not necessarily experts in mycotoxins but rather pragmatic industry professionals who routinely face mycotoxin issues in their business. It covers the genesis of mycotoxins, how they affect different species, best practices to control their presence, existing and potential remedies, future thoughts, etc. It is essentially an up-to-date guidebook for mycotoxins in animal nutrition.
[Olga Averkieva] In order to get a decent understanding of the situation and its rather specific set of problems, animal or feed producers currently have to consult many sources of information. Mycotoxin reports are widely available, meaning this search can be extensive and can sometimes include information that is unreliable. This can lead to some important data being missed or misinterpreted. For example, a typical situation we see is poultry producers sometimes choosing a strong adsorbent to bind deoxynivalenol (DON) without knowing that this might further exacerbate the issue. Or a swine producer adding sodium metabisulfite to counteract DON in pigs without doing a moist heat treatment on the feed first before it is fed to the animals to ensure efficacy. Another common example is the organoclay for strong binding of mycotoxins that is activated by quaternary ammonium which is toxic and may not be fed to the animal. In our book we examine mycotoxins as scientists as well as experienced specialists who frequently face the mycotoxin issue in the field.
[Feedinfo] How long was this book in development for? Please talk us through the process of how it all came together.
[Adrien Rivayrand] The actual writing of the book started in 2022. With Adisseo being in the mycotoxin risk management field for years, our experts had a solid view on which were the key topics to address. However, the fact that the available information is broad and spread across multiple sources has been a challenge. Mycopedia contains more than a thousand references to scientific publications! Adisseo’s team designed the framework of the book and then contacted best-in-class scientists and industry experts all over the world to contribute to their respective fields.
[Olga Averkieva] The idea for a book like Mycopedia came to us after having countless discussions with people who face production issues daily. We noticed that mycotoxins were often left out of these discussions unless there was obvious trouble with animals. It is a topic that is not the first priority for animal or feed producers to consider. They either rely on information provided by the supplier of their particular mycotoxin sequestrant or they only investigate when their mycotoxin-related issue has already happened and affecting their operations.
[Feedinfo] You mentioned having multiple authors from both the scientific and commercial worlds contributing to this book. How exactly did Adisseo go about choosing them and why was it so important to have voices from both these spheres represented in the book?
[Olga Averkieva] Thanks to Adisseo’s vast network of connections in the scientific world, we are able to remain up to date with what is happening in the academic field. This allowed us to reach out to the relevant scientific experts in the topics we wanted to cover in Mycopedia. In addition to this, we also wanted to include several practical experts who are currently working on issues related to mycotoxins, such as those in crop protection, feed mill management, veterinarians, laboratory experts, and sales and technical colleagues that are talking to our customers daily. The idea was that by bringing these two worlds together in one source will give a more holistic look at the issue of mycotoxins and the available solutions.
[Feedinfo] Let’s look at some of the new insights that readers can expect the book to explore. Any recent findings on the effects of mycotoxins on production animals that you can share? Or will you be unpacking established research?
[Olga Averkieva] In each chapter of the book you will find unique information. A few examples of the topics we cover include development of early prediction models, NIR technology for mycotoxin detection, meta-analysis of all literature devoted to mycotoxin effects in animals, adsorption isotherms vs common adsorption studies in vitro, natural bio-inactivation mechanisms developed by different species through evolution, and more!
[Adrien Rivayrand] Although most of the information contained in Mycopedia can be found in the available scientific literature, what makes this book unique is the fact that so many findings are packed into an easy-to-navigate format. And with the source section, it is easy for any reader interested in a specific topic to dig further into it. It is both a handy and time-saving tool for anyone interested in learning more about mycotoxins in animal nutrition.
[Feedinfo] What about the industry’s approach to mitigation? In the book there is specific attention being paid to strategies post-ingestion. Why is that? And what new findings are you presenting?
[Adrien Rivayrand] There are a few mitigation strategies possible when facing mycotoxin risks. The ideal situation would be, of course, to avoid feeding your animal with contaminated feeds in the first place. But realistically – even with strong prediction models, thorough analysis of raw material and feeds, and excellent managerial practices in day-to-day operations – mycotoxin ingestion by the animal cannot be always prevented. Post ingestion mitigations strategies thus need to be envisaged as well. Especially now that it’s commonly accepted and well documented that even low levels of mycotoxins can impact animal health and performance.
[Olga Averkieva] In addition, there are multiple external trends which tend to narrow the alternatives available to feed producers and therefore increase occurrence of animal fed with contaminated feeds. These include stricter rules for the safety of human foods originating from cereals, shortage of raw materials for animal feed caused by climate change, consumer preferences and regulatory burdens (e.g., deforestation laws, organic farming, etc.), and economic pressure. In other words, it is getting harder for the industry to rely on traditional feed stuffs, so it is a case of “feed what you can get otherwise fewer options will be available for feed”. In this context, post-ingestion mitigation becomes a necessity to alleviate the mycotoxin burden.
[Feedinfo] There is also a chapter dedicated to future developments. What are some of the trends that you have identified that will shape how we tackle the mycotoxins issue in the future?
[Adrien Rivayrand] The current mycotoxin landscape will significantly transform during the next decade, with climate change and a shift in manufacturing practices being the main drivers. We will also be facing a risk of new and emerging combinations of mycotoxins, changing geographical distribution and higher incidence and prevalence. The consequences for the animal feed industry will be an increase in mycotoxin management-related costs, the need to adapt mycotoxin regulation in food and feed safety, and an increased need for the implementation of mitigation strategies.
[Olga Averkieva] Expanding on Adrien’s point, the advances in analytical methods will lead to new mycotoxins being discovered. This will, in turn, require us to develop future regulations. In addition to this, the increasing use of local feed ingredients as alternatives to corn grain and soy could also further complicate the issue. For example, more by-products (like DDGS and brans) or rice, cottonseed meal, canola meal, soy hulls, sorghum and legumes could bring with them other mycotoxin patterns and levels into feeds, along with other nutritional challenges. We will need new solutions to deal with all these emerging risks and this is exactly what we explore in the last section of Mycopedia which covers developments that could potentially be of interest in the future.
[Feedinfo] How do you envision the book being employed by the industry?
[Olga Averkieva] We wanted the Mycopedia to be a practical and reliable tool for the animal feed industry professionals. For this reason, we opted to have readers navigate the book by the animal species rather than the mycotoxin. This gives them a more accessible point from which to dive deeper into a specific mycotoxin and its effect on that species. Additionally, the reader can also easily check on the risk of a particular mycotoxin in their region and why.
It is my hope that this book will also clear up some falsehoods and common misconceptions.
[Adrien Rivayrand] I also believe that the Mycopedia will be greatly appreciated by all those studying animal nutrition and wishing to increase their knowledge on mycotoxins in general or looking for answers to specific questions they may have.
[Feedinfo] As mentioned earlier, global warming is drastically, and quickly, changing the face of the mycotoxin challenge. With things changing at such a rapid pace, how often do you expect to be updating the Mycopedia?
[Adrien Rivayrand] As the book is just being released and contains all the latest findings, we are confident that it will stay up to date for the most part for a few years. In the meantime, the Adisseo team will remain attentive to any market developments and will eventually publish an updated version when we feel the time has come.
For the time being, if you are interested in getting a copy of the Mycopedia, please contact your local Adisseo representative or click here.
Published in association with Adisseo.