There are numerous economic consequences associated with mycotoxins in ruminant production that are very serious. Mycotoxins damage intestinal tissue, which reduces nutrient absorption. They also impair liver, kidney, reproductive, and immune function, which reduces the performance of the animal.
The consequences, however, don't stop there. Mycotoxins may be responsible for a range of diseases and can be transferred from the food the animal is given to the meat and/or milk that they produce. Humans can then eat those infected foods.
Dairy cows are relatively strong in defending and making a barrier against the mycotoxins. However, even with the rumen working correctly, two percent of toxins can still get transferred to the milk. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it still can cause milk to be rejected, causing difficulty for farmers to make a decent living. The original level of mycotoxins in feed, as low as it is, can have disastrous effects as well.
Some efforts in counteracting the mycotoxins include clays and modified glucans. However, the use of clays causes unnecessary nutrient and vitamin absorption that can't be used by the animal. Therefore, the use of these clays has been limited in the past few years. The best preventions of mycotoxins is maintaining a clean trough and keeping silage and grains fresh.
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