A snapshot of multi-toxin contamination in feed – Summary of 37+™ Analysis results for 2012/2013
The large number and structural diversity of mycotoxins has impeded rapid quantification using LC-MS/MS owing to varying extraction efficiencies and interferences from feed and food matrices. Alltech researchers have successfully tackled these challenges by developing the 37+™ Analysis. This novel method provides simultaneous and accurate quantification for more than 37 mycotoxins in feed in a cost-effective manner. This approach normalizes losses during extraction and matrix suppression/enhancement by using labeled mycotoxins as surrogates and internal standards. In this analytical setting, four isotopologues were used to normalize the MS signals of known concentrations of 10 mycotoxin groups.
During 2012/2013, 3322 feed samples were received from across the world and subjected to the 37™ analysis. The mycotoxin population followed a Gaussian distribution with measurable concentrations of mycotoxins detected in 99.6% of the 3322 samples (average = 8 different mycotoxins/sample) with only 14 samples containing no detectable mycotoxins. The number of mycotoxins per sample at measurable concentrations ranged from 2 to 20, with ~87% of samples contaminated with 3 to 11 mycotoxins. Fumonisins closely followed by trichothecene B were the most prevalent. Trichothecenes, ergot alkaloids and other toxins such as Aspergillus and Penicillium toxins found in stored feed accounted for 30% of the balance. Interestingly, hot spots of contamination accounted for 10s to 100s of ppm for certain mycotoxins. For the first time, analysis of the distribution of Penicillium toxin as well as potential synergistic compounds such as fusaric acid has been made possible. Mycotoxin concentrations were further interpreted and normalized according to known species-specific sensitivities. The latter were evaluated using principles of toxic equivalent factors used to perform risk assessment for PCBs, dioxins and furans and adapted to mycotoxins. This approach allowed evaluating the toxicological risk associated with levels of mycotoxins found in samples and normalized according to the impact of the distribution of the toxin for mixed animal species. The data showed that trichothecenes B accounted for the highest risk to animal performance or health, followed by aflatoxins (despite only accounting for 2% of mycotoxins found), ochratoxin and Penicilliumtoxins. In conclusion, the 37+™ Analysis shows that the spectrum of mycotoxins that naturally contaminates feed commodities is exceedingly broad. For the first time, we are proposing a holistic strategy for accounting and reporting multiple mycotoxin contamination trends that were often neglected using other analytical approaches that focused only on a small number of contaminants.
Keywords: Mycotoxin, Mass spectrometry, UPLC-MS/MS, Feed, Contamination