Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that about 25% of the world crops are contaminated with mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are highly diverse low molecular weight toxic secondary metabolites produced by filamentous fungi such as Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium, which invade crops in the field and may grow on raw material or feed during storage under favourable conditions of temperature and humidity.
Mycotoxins are toxic to animals and humans and present a potential hazard to health worldwide. They can cause a lot of problems in livestock, mainly on performances, metabolism, reproduction and immunity leading to economic losses.
The mycotoxins of most concern due to their toxicity and occurrence are Aflatoxins, Ochratoxin, Deoxynivalenol (DON or vomitoxin), T-2 toxins, Zearalenone (ZEA), and Fumonisins.
The incidence of contamination and concentration of mycotoxins depends on the temperature and humidity. Climate change is causing a rise in temperature and CO2, hence leading to more extreme weather conditions (wet winters and dry summers) resulting in an increase of mycotoxin prevalence. In certain geographical areas of the world, some mycotoxins are produced more readily than others.