Mycotoxins are poisonous chemical compounds produced by certain fungi. There are many such compounds, but only a few of them are regularly found in food, farmed crops and end-product animal feeds. Since they are produced by fungi, mycotoxins are associated with diseased or mouldy crops. Those that do occur in food may have an impact on livestock and the health of humans and have been associated with conditions such as asthma, respiratory infections and chronic fatigue. The main causes of mycotoxins within stored grains are when the grain is damp, damaged or cracked and kept in insufficient storage conditions. The formation of mycotoxins is climate-dependent, with temperature and moisture levels directly impacting fungal growth. Evidence shows that climate change is causing increasing temperatures and altered rainfall patterns. Additionally, extreme weather incidents have increased. As a consequence of these changes, increased levels of mycotoxins have been observed in some European crops.
Mycotoxins occur, and exert their toxic effects, in extremely small quantities in foodstuffs. Their identification and quantitative assessment therefore generally require sophisticated sampling, sample preparation, extraction, and analytical techniques. Under practical storage conditions, the aim should be to monitor for the occurrence of fungi. If fungi cannot be detected then there is unlikely to be any mycotoxin contamination. The presence of fungi indicates the potential for mycotoxin production, and the need to consider the fate of the batch of commodity affected.
In order to help the industry Randox Food Diagnostics developed the Evidence Investigator analyser. The Investigator uses Biochip Array Technology (BAT), a technology that was developed by Randox, to detect multiple residues (up to 45) from a single sample. Within farmed crops Randox Food Diagnostics provide testing for different matrices such as maize silage, maize, barley, grass seed, rice, wheat, oats, soya, DDGS, rapeseed as well as livestock and pet foods including premixed feed.
Randox Food Diagnostics offer a mycotoxin screening array on Biochip called Myco 10 which can detect ten mycotoxins per sample including aflatoxins G1/G2 & B1/B2, ergot alkaloids, fumonisins, paxilline, ochratoxin A, diacetoxyscirpenol, deoxynivalenol (DON), T2 toxin & zeralenone. Also offered is a range of ELISA test kits including ergot alkaloids.
Randox Food Diagnostics is a regular participant in the FAPAS proficiency testing scheme, which provides an independent check of a laboratory’s procedures to ensure the delivery of quality results. To read the company’s study, entitled ‘Biochip Array Technology for the reliable performance of multi-mycotoxin determination in animal feed materials’, click here.
For more information on Randox’s arrays for mycotoxins please visit the company’s website or email them.
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