Submitted to: Mycopathologia
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Fumonisins are toxic metabolites of certain fungi that are ubiquitous in corn. There is a concern that these toxins may occur in the milk of cows consuming fumonisin-contaminated diets. We fed two cows a ration containing 75 ppm of three of the major fumonisins for a 14 day period. Fumonisins were not detected in any of the milk samples obtained from the cows during this time period, and the cows did not become ill. Thus, the carry over of fumonisins from feed to milk in dairy cows does not appear to be significant and likely not a hazard or food safety concern for humans.
Technical Abstract: Fumonisins, a group of mycotoxins produced by the ubiquitous fungi Fusarium moniliforme and F. proliferatum, were first identified about eight years ago. They have been shown to cause a variety of health effects in animals, including epidemiological evidence of esophageal cancer in humans. Cattle are less sensitive to ill effects than horses and swine. Fumonisins are common contaminants of low quality grain fed to cattle. Culture material containing fumonisins (FB1, FB2, and FB3) was mixed into the total mixed diet and fed for 14 days to two midlactation Jersey cows to determine if fumonisins are excreted in milk. The dietary equivalent of fumonisin was approximately 75 ppm, and the two cows consumed an average of 3 mg fumonisin B1/Kg bwt/day. Fumonisins were not detected in any of the milk samples by two analytical laboratories using methods with a sensitivity of 5 ng/ml. Except for transient diarrhea at the beginning of the contaminant feeding period and an increase in serum cholesterol, clinical and hematologic changes were not observed in the animals. The appearance or carry over of fumonisins from feed to milk in dairy cows does not appear to be significant and likely not a hazard or food safety concern for humans.