“Masked Mycotoxins”: What Do We Know?

29-06-2010 | | |

I have had the opportunity to write several blogs on the topic of mycotoxins for World Poultry. So, why am I writing about mycotoxins again? You might have heard about “masked mycotoxins”. This topic has generated a lot of interest over the past few years (1).

Masked mycotoxins are soluble conjugate form of mycotoxins. These conjugates can be produced as a result of different processes. For example, plants including cereals are able, as a protective mechanism, to metabolize mycotoxins into more polar metabolites (1). Deoxynivalenol -3-glucoside (DON3G) is a conjugate form of deoxynivalenol (DON) found in wheat and corn (2, 3).
Feeding of mycotoxin contaminated ingredients (e.g. corn, wheat) to poultry can result in exposure of these animals to both parent mycotoxins and their conjugate metabolites formed in feed ingredients (2). Masked mycotoxins can escape routine laboratory detection methods. However, they can be released as free mycotoxins in the intestine and contribute to the total amount of mycotoxins ingested by poultry (2, 3).
In spite of all progresses, more information is still required regarding masked mycotoxins especially with respect to laboratory detection of these compounds in feed ingredients and finished feed samples (1). In addition to technical limitations in analytical procedures, there is also not much information available on toxicity of masked mycotoxins (1). 
  1. Were you aware of presence of masked mycotoxins in feed ingredients?
  2. Can masked mycotoxins exacerbate problems associated with mycotoxins in the poultry industry?
  3. What do you expect commercial companies to do in this regard?