Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Becker, Barbara
item Pace Lanny
item Rottinghaus Geor
item Shelby Richard
item Misfeldt Michael
item Ross P Frank

Submitted to: American Journal of Veterinary Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Fusarium moniliforme is a recently identified fungus that has infected recent U.S. corn harvests. The toxins produced by this fungus are referred to as fumonisins (FB) and have been shown to be lethal in swine due to water buildup in the lungs. Lower concentrations consumed for long periods are associated with cancer of the esophagus. Toxicity to piglets via the sows' milk has not been shown, nor has effects on the immune system been demonstrated in sows with piglets. Thus studies were conducted to determine the effect of FB on the immune system of sows and to determine if non-lethal amounts of FB are passed into the milk and toxic to the piglets. We further investigated whether hot environmental conditions exacerbated the effects of FB. The results demonstrate 1) no significant effect of FB on the immune system of sows and litters; 2) minimal detectable amounts in the sows' milk; and 3) no enhanced toxic effects due to a hot environment. Of importance is that litters from sows ingesting contaminated feed at non lethal concentrations would probably not suffer consequences associated with FB, could be cross-fostered if the sows were seriously affected, and could be reared and slaughtered without concern for the safety of the food supply.

Technical Abstract: The mycotoxin fumonisin (FB1) produced by Fusarium moniliforme in corn causes pulmonary edema in finishing swine. Unknown are the effects of lower non-lethal levels and the effects in the lactating sows with suckling piglets. The first study was conducted to determine: 1) a non-lethal dose for lactating sows, 2) whether ingested FB1 could be detected in the milk, and 3) whether toxicity could be detected in the piglets as determined by necropsy examination. The second study was conducted to determine: 1) toxicity in the piglets by measuring liver sphinganine and sphingosine and 2) whether ingested FB1 affected the lymphocyte function in both sows and their piglets. Furthermore, sows in this study were maintained in controlled hot (27-32 deg C, 50-70% RH) and thermoneutral (TN; 21 deg C, 55% RH) environments to determine whether the high temperatures exacerbated the effects of FB1. In the first study, 100 ppm FB1 in corn soybean meal diet was found to be non-lethal. FB1 was not detected in the milk at 30 ppb and no pathology was found in the necropsied piglets including one from a sow who died from porcine pulmonary edema syndrome after ingesting FB1 at 200 ppm. In the second study, no differences in liver sphinganine: sphingosine ratios of the piglets were found. The expressions of cell surface antigens on peripheral blood lymphocytes and lymphocyte proliferation to various mitogens were not affected by either FB1 or high temperature in either sows or their piglets. The results demonstrated that when sows ingested non-lethal amounts of FB1 there were: 1) no detectable amounts in the sows' milk and no evidence of toxicity in the piglets, 2) no significant effect on lymphocyte function of either sows or piglets, and 3) no enhanced toxic effects due to high temperatures.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page