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Fusarium mycotoxins in total mixed rations for dairy cows


Mycotoxins produced by certain fungal species of the Fusarium genus are frequently found as contaminants in cereals and feedstuffs. Fumonisins (FBs), deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN) are of special concern relative to animal health and productivity. The aim of this work was to analyse the levels of Fusarium mycotoxin contamination in samples of total mixed rations (TMRs) for dairy cows. To accomplish this analysis, an HPLC-MS/MS multi-mycotoxin method was developed and validated. The relation between the formulation of TMR samples and the presence of mycotoxins was also studied. From February 2016 to January 2018, a total of 193 TMR samples for dairy cows collected from farms located in different areas of Spain were analysed for the presence of FBs, ZEN, DON and their metabolites. In total, 112 samples (58%) were contaminated with at least one mycotoxin, and 38 samples (20%) presented more than one mycotoxin. FBs were the mycotoxins most frequently found (34% positive samples). DON was detected in 17% of samples, and ZEN was detected in 16% of samples. Among the metabolites analysed, only deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside (DON-3-Glc) and 15-acetyldeoxynivalenol (15-ADON) were detected. The levels of all the Fusarium mycotoxins studied were always below the values recommended by the European Commission for feedstuffs. The wide variety of ingredients used in the formulation of the analysed samples made it difficult to reach definite conclusions, although it seemed that some cereal silages and concentrates such as cereals or compound feed used as ingredients of the TMR may be related to the presence of mycotoxins.

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María Rodríguez-Blanco thanks the University of Lleida for a pre-doctoral grant. The authors would like to thank Montserrat Prim for her technical assistance. The authors thank colleagues of the Department of Chemistry and Physics of the University of Almeria (Spain), and specially Prof. Antonia Garrido, for their invaluable help in MS/MS chromatographic determinations.


This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (project AGL2014-55379-P).

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Correspondence to Antonio J. Ramos.

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Rodríguez-Blanco, M., Marín, S., Sanchis, V. et al. Fusarium mycotoxins in total mixed rations for dairy cows. Mycotoxin Res (2020).

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  • Fusarium mycotoxins
  • Total mixed ration
  • Dairy cows
  • Multi-mycotoxin
  • Feed ingredients