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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #304694

Title: Effects of deoxynivlenol (vomitoxin) in domestic animals

item Harvey, Roger

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2014
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites that can be toxic to plants, animals, humans, aquatic life, and bacteria. Deoxynivalenol, also known as DON or vomitoxin, belongs to the tricothecene class of mycotoxins and is produced primarily by Fusarium graminearum fungi and is usually associated with fusarium head blight in wheat and fusarium ear rot (Gibberella or pink ear rot) in corn. Ear rot is associated with high moisture levels during silking and high rainfall and moderate temperatures during maturation. Globally, most DON is produced in temperate zones (as opposed to warm-weather zones). The optimum temperature for fungal growth is 25º C (77º F). DON has been reported from virtually every country in the world and has been isolated from small grains and maize. Some studies report that 57% of corn is contaminated and 50% of beer has DON present. Susceptibility to DON toxicity is variable, with pigs being the most sensitive, then dogs and cats, humans, poultry, and ruminants. Very little of DON is transmitted to meat, eggs, or milk. The main clinical signs of DON toxicity are vomiting (hence the name vomitoxin), reduced feed consumption, reduced weight gain, decreased immune function, and possibly esophageal cancer in humans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has established a level of 1.0 ppm (part per million) for human foods, 5.0 ppm for dog and cat food, 10.0 ppm for poultry and ruminating cattle feeds, and 2.0 ppm for dairy cattle feed. The biggest economic impact of DON comes from reduced animal productivity and decreased grain prices associated with contamination.