Skip to main content

The importance of feeding quality grain is more important than ever as feed costs continue to impact pork producer’s bottom line.

“With high corn prices and all input costs being up, you really want to get the most out of those nutrients that you’re paying for,” says Paige Gott, mycotoxin and Hy-D category manager for DSM. “We know mycotoxins can limit that.”

Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by certain molds which can contaminate a wide range of feed ingredients. When ingested, mycotoxins can be detrimental to the health, reproduction and performance of animals.


Even low-level mycotoxin exposure can have a negative effect on pig performance as swine is one of the species most sensitive to these fungal metabolites. From reduced feed intake and diarrhea to infertility and impaired immune function, mycotoxins can evoke both subclinical and clinical effects in pigs.

“We often relate fumonisins to pulmonary edema, which can cause high mortality on the farm, and even at low levels, fumonisins can cause immune suppression. We don’t really measure immune suppression on the farm, but it can cause the health challenges like PRRS, PED, or E. coli to worsen,” says Lan Zheng, technical services manager for DSM. “We may think it’s biosecurity or transportation issues, but we don’t really connect that back to fumonisins. It can be a silent mycotoxin, but if we can address that before those clinical signs happen, that can save a lot of money for the producers.”

Survey Shows High Levels of B-Trich, Fumonisins

In a recent 2021 U.S. corn crop survey by DSM of 274 corn samples and 46 corn distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) collected from 23 states, six major mycotoxin groups were identified, Gott explains.

“We’re seeing higher occurrence of some of the metabolites that we see year to year. So most frequently occurring would be the type B trichothecenes (B-Trich), which would be the family that includes deoxynivalenol or ‘vomitoxin’ that most people are familiar with. Next, we have fumonisins with 63% of the samples in our data set being positive for fumonisins. And then zearalenone would be the next most frequently occurring mycotoxin group that we see in over 27% of samples,” Gott says.

Occurrences are up from last year, but the contamination levels are pretty consistent this year versus last year, Gott says.

FDA Approves New Tool To Mitigate Mycotoxins

DSM announced on June 9 that fumonisin esterase, DSM’s enzyme for the degradation of fumonisins present in swine feed, is the first product to be approved for degrading fumonisins in feed in the U.S. market.

DSM received confirmation from FDA CVM on June 8 of the completion of their regulatory review that found that the data support the safety and functionality of fumonisin esterase, the first mycotoxin degrading ingredient to go through FDA’s Food Additive Petition (FAP) process.

More information will be available soon about product release and availability.

“It is really groundbreaking in the United States to have a product that we’ll be able to claim that type of mode of action related to mycotoxins is exciting,” Gott says. “The label claim will be able to make official claim related to mycotoxins specifically fumonisins in swine feed. As of right now, products are labeled for other uses since mycotoxin mitigation is not formally recognized as an option.”

PorkFarmJournal | JENNIFER SHIKE | June 10, 

Image Source –