STAFF REPORT ISB: Mycotoxins are the harmful substances produced by certain species of fungi. Many species of fungi may produce more than one type of toxin, said Dr Aneela Zameer Durrani, Chairperson of Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery at UVAS, Lahore.

She said that the more common types of mycotoxins occurring in foods and animal feeds include aflatoxin B1, B2, G1, G2, ochratoxins, fumonisin and zearalenone.

Mycotoxins have got attention as they are toxic to human and animal health. The most acutely toxic is aflatoxin B1 and is responsible for liver cancer in humans, she said.

According to her, dairy animals after consuming feed affected with aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), excrete the by-product aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) in their milk that causes cancer.

The extent of mycotoxin toxicity in animals and humans exposed through feed intake depends upon various factors like species, metabolism, mechanisms of action, and defence system of the individual.

She revealed that goat farming in Pakistan has become an indispensable part of livestock industry.

Aflatoxin B1 was detected in 33 feed samples out of 40 thus with a percent contamination rate of 83%. Maximum level of aflatoxin B1 was detected in cotton seed cake and minimum level was detected in wheat bran.

Aflatoxin M1 was detected in all milk samples with concentration beyond permissible level which is 0.05 µg/kg (European communities).

The physical way of removing mycotoxins from feed is the addition of different adsorbents (binders) in animals contaminated feed, she said.

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