Factors during Production of Cereal-Derived Feed That Influence Mycotoxin Contents

Yvette Hoffmans, Sara Schaarschmidt, Carsten Fauhl-Hassek, H.J. van der Fels-Klerx*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Mycotoxins are naturally present in cereal-based feed materials; however, due to adverse effects on animal health, their presence in derived animal feed should be minimized. A systematic literature search was conducted to obtain an overview of all factors from harvest onwards influencing the presence and concentration of mycotoxins in cereal-based feeds. The feed production processes covered included the harvest time, post-harvest practices (drying, cleaning, storage), and processing (milling, mixing with mycotoxin binders, extrusion cooking, ensiling). Delayed harvest supports the production of multiple mycotoxins. The way feed materials are dried after harvest influences the concentration of mycotoxins therein. Applying fungicides on the feed materials after harvest as well as cleaning and sorting can lower the concentration of mycotoxins. During milling, mycotoxins might be redistributed in cereal feed materials and fractions thereof. It is important to know which parts of the cereals are used for feed production and whether or not mycotoxins predominantly accumulate in these fractions. For feed production, mostly the milling fractions with outer parts of cereals, such as bran and shorts, are used, in which mycotoxins concentrate during processing. Wet-milling of grains can lower the mycotoxin content in these parts of the grain. However, this is typically accompanied by translocation of mycotoxins to the liquid fractions, which might be added to by-products used as feed. Mycotoxin binders can be added during mixing of feed materials. Although binders do not remove mycotoxins from the feed, the mycotoxins become less bioavailable to the animal and, in the case of food-producing animals, to the consumer, lowering the adverse effects of mycotoxins. The effect of extruding cereal feed materials is dependent on several factors, but in principle, mycotoxin contents are decreased after extrusion cooking. The results on ensiling are not uniform; however, most of the data show that mycotoxin production is supported during ensiling when oxygen can enter this process. Overall, the results of the literature review suggest that factors preventing mycotoxin production have greater impact than factors lowering the mycotoxin contents already present in feed materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number301
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2022


  • aflatoxin
  • deoxynivalenol
  • fumonisin
  • grains
  • HT-2
  • influential factors
  • processing
  • T-2
  • zearalenone


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