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Fumonisins are often detected in corn silage, and can cause productivity losses and health problems in both beef and dairy cattle.
Recently published research indicates that even low to medium concentrations of dietary fumonisins (FUM), especially in combination with other Fusarium mycotoxins, can lead to impaired health and production losses in both dairy cows and beef cattle.
Several surveys conducted in different parts of the world have confirmed that corn silages can be a significant source of FUM contamination in both dairy rations (Reisinger et al., 2019, Gallo et al., 2021, and Vandicke et al. 2021) as well as beef cattle diets (Custódio et al., 2019).
Figure 1. Fumonisins increase veterinary and treatment costs and decrease milk and meat production.
Unlike other mycotoxins, FUM is metabolized or detoxified only to a small degree in the rumen. In an in vitro study conducted by Caloni et al. (2000), the vast majority of FUM remained intact, even after 72 hours of incubation in rumen fluid. Other authors have confirmed in their studies (see Figure 2) that FUM can bypass the rumen mostly undegraded (Gurung et al., 1999, Smith & Thakur et al., 1996, Fink-Gremmels 2008, and Gallo et al., 2020). Once it reaches the small intestines, there is evidence from Reisinger et al. (2019) that FUM can be cytotoxic thus negatively impacting the intestinal health of the animals. The authors conclude from their in vitro work that the intestine of ruminants can be just as sensitive to FUM as the small intestine of swine.
Figure 2. FUM degradation patterns from different studies in vivo or after incubation in vitro (adapted from Smith & Thakur 1996, Gurung et al. 1999, Caloni et al. 2000 and Gallo et al., 2020)
Even though ruminants are still considered less sensitive to FUM, there is evidence that FUM, alone or in combination with other Fusarium mycotoxins, have a hepatotoxic effect as well as impair immune functions in ruminants.
Besides the possible hepatotoxicity and immune function impairment, FUM can become a significant risk factor for productivity loss.
Fumonisins can’t be overlooked and pose a risk that requires testing and assessment in efficient beef and dairy farming.
Baker, D. C. & G. E. Rottinghaus (1999) Chronic experimental fumonisin intoxication of calves. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation: Official Publication of The American Association Of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc, 11, 289-292.
Caloni, F., Spotti, M., Auerbach, H., den Camp, H. O., Gremmels, J. F., & Pompa, G. (2000). In vitro metabolism of fumonisin B1 by ruminal microflora. Veterinary Research Communications, 24(6), 379-387.
Custódio, L., Prados, L. F., Yiannikouris, A., Holder, V., Pettigrew, J., Kuritza, L., ... & Siqueira, G. R. (2019). Mycotoxin contamination of diets for beef cattle finishing in feedlot. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia, 48.
Diaz, D. E., B. A. Hopkins, L. M. Leonard, W. M. Hagler, Jr. & L. W. Whitlow (2000) Effect of Fumonisin on lactating dairy cattle. Journal Of Dairy Science, 83, 1171.
20 April 2021
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