Researchers from South Africa and Belgium have shown the level of contamination in the cattle feed samples collected from 28 smallholder dairy establishments in the Limpopo and Free State provinces of South Africa. From a total of 77 dairy cattle feed samples collected, mycotoxins were detected across samples with 86% of samples containing at least one mycotoxin above respective decision limits while up to 66% of samples were found to be contaminated with at least three mycotoxins.
The samples analyzed using a confirmatory UHPLC-MS/MS (Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry) revealed deoxynivalenol, sterigmatocystin, alternariol and enniatin B as the most common mycotoxins. The mycotoxins found to exceed local and European regulatory limits include doexynivalenol, aflatoxins and zearalenone. The finding presents a public health risk because mycotoxins in cattle feeds can be carried over to dairy milk.
We do hope this study would aid in the development of a sustainable strategy for mycotoxin control in animal-based food production systems in South Africa and other African countries.
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