Mycotoxins produced by fungi contaminate a wide variety of feed ingredients and cause a significant economically negative impact by affecting health status and reducing performance, welfare and profitability of livestock. As part of our stress control platform, Innovad offers our customers the possibility to monitor mycotoxin risk in raw materials and feed. In 2023, our program gathered more than 1,700 samples from thirty-five different countries (40% America; 32% Europe; 18% Asia; 10% MEA). These samples were analyzed using rapid test or LC-MS/MS, both at high sensitivity level. The results of these analyses help us to extract important conclusions about mycotoxins threat levels for the six main mycotoxins (deoxynivalenol, aflatoxins, fumonisins, zearalenone, ochratoxin A and T-2) in feed and feed ingredients from different geographical regions across the globe. 



  • Feed and feed ingredients are normally co-contaminated with two or more mycotoxins (65.0%).
  • Some samples (14.7%) reached extremely high mycotoxin concentrations, which could cause acute toxicity symptoms. 
  • North America was the region with the largest percentage of samples (19.7%) exceeding suggested limits.  
  • The highest co-occurrence was detected among the African samples. Seventy-seven % of the samples had 2 or more mycotoxins.   
  • Innovad offers a unique platform to manage mycotoxin risk from raw materials to the farm combining rapid test, LC-MS/MS analysis and biomarker analysis.


Co-exposure is the highly prevalent

Results confirm that animals are continuously exposed to mycotoxins as most of the analyzed samples (86%) were contaminated with one or more mycotoxins. Not unexpectedly, deoxynivalenol was the most frequent mycotoxin detected in feed ingredients (74%), followed by fumonisins (52%) and zearalenone (39%) (Table 1). To a significantly lesser extent, aflatoxins (8%), ochratoxin A (6%) and T-2 toxin (%) were identified. Importantly, most of the samples were co-contaminated with two or more mycotoxins (65%). Combinations of two, three, four, five and six different mycotoxins were detected in 28.4, 20.3, 12.2, 3.1 and 1.4% respectively. Combinations of deoxynivalenol with fumonisins and zearalenone were most commonly found which is unsurprising considering all three produced by the same fungi, Fusarium. The large co-presence detected in the feed ingredients is of concern, as their combined toxic effect is often synergistic or additive, causing a greater impact than the individual mycotoxin effects.


Table 1. Prevalence (%), average concentration ± standard deviation (ppb), median (ppb) and maximum concentration (ppb) of the six analyzed mycotoxins (deoxynivalenol, fumonisins, zearalenone, aflatoxins, ochratoxin A and T-2 toxin).


High concentrations across all feeds 

Numerous scientific studies demonstrate that chronic exposure (even at low levels) has an enormous impact on animal health status and performance. Low concentrations predispose animals to other infections, reduce growth and increase the FCR, whilst high mycotoxin levels cause acute toxicity in the animals with many severe clinical symptoms. This highlights the need to have programs in place that efficiently detect high mycotoxin concentration as a crucial first step to protect animal welfare. As part of the mycotoxin management plan established by Innovad, we can rapidly identify samples that pose a high risk. This top level of detection gives producers the opportunity to anticipate the problems and plan for the consequences. In this way, we were able to detect that 14.7% of the samples (22.8% from ruminants, 19.8% from swine and 5.3% from poultry) had higher levels than the limits established by the European Commission (EC)* with samples exceeding limits across mycotoxins and species. In poultry, this was mainly caused by aflatoxins (4.3%), while deoxynivalenol (12.3%) and zearalenone (6.1%) were common in swine, and deoxynivalenol (18.4%) and zearalenone (3.1%) in ruminants (Table 2).

*(2002/32/EC – aflatoxins; 2006/576/EC – deoxynivalenol, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, T-2 toxin and zearalenone; 2013/165/EC – T-2 toxin)


Table 2. Maximum mycotoxin concentration (ppb) detected for each studied mycotoxin (deoxynivalenol, fumonisins, zearalenone, T-2 toxin, aflatoxins and ochratoxin A) depending on the species (poultry, swine and ruminants). Remarked in red if the detected concentration exceeded the limits established by European Commission (EC).


Geographical remarks

Interestingly, North America was the region with the highest percentage of samples that exceeded the limits. In total, 19.7% of the samples tested exceeded the limits of the European Commission, with deoxynivalenol and zearalenone being the most frequent mycotoxins overreaching the limit. In fact, the samples with the highest concentrations and prevalence of deoxynivalenol and zearalenone were from North America followed by Europe (Table 3 and 4).


Table 3. Summary of deoxynivalenol results depending on the geographical area with the prevalence (%), average concentration ± standard deviation (ppb), median (ppb) and maximum concentration (ppb).

Table 4. Summary of zearalenone results depending on the geographical area with the prevalence (%), average concentration ± standard deviation (ppb), median (ppb) and maximum concentration (ppb).

On the other hand, Africa was the region with the highest percentage of co-presence. Thus, 77% of the African samples had two or more mycotoxins at the same time and even 20% of the samples had four or more mycotoxins.


All-round mycotoxin control management system

Innovad offers a unique mycotoxin control strategy to manage mycotoxin risk from raw materials to the farm, applying a 3-tier strategy:

  1. Rapid test:
    • Results provided in a few minutes: ideal for control of raw materials at reception points. The test offered by Innovad reduces time-to-results, in one single extraction (15 minutes) concentrations of 4 of the most detected mycotoxins (deoxynivalenol + aflatoxins + fumonisins + zearalenone) are obtained.
    • Six mycotoxins with high sensitivity: Sensitivity offered in the rapid test allows to achieve outstanding low limits of detection (ppb level) for the targeted mycotoxins. The limits of detection offered in the rapid test are lower than the limits established by the European Union in feed products.
  2. Complete test:
    • High sensitivity: analysis for feed and raw materials using liquid chromatography with double mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)
    • Sixteen different key mycotoxins: other mycotoxins can be more common than the 6 main mycotoxins (aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, T-2 and zearalenone). For this reason, the LC-MS/MS method includes 16 key different mycotoxins.
    • Results provided in few days: get your results in 5 days or less.
  3. Myco-Marker (patented by Innovad):
    • Specific for your farm: blood analysis permits to elucidate real impact of mycotoxin exposure for each farm
    • Thirty-six different mycotoxin biomarkers: wide panel to discover the real exposure including common and emerging mycotoxins
    • Easy sampling collection: only 1 drop of blood per animal in a FTA card (without transport or temperature limitation) is needed to discover the real exposure to 36 mycotoxin biomarkers.

Get in touch with Dr. Arnau Vidal to discover the mycotoxin risk in your geographical region:

  • North-America

  • Latin America

  • Europe

  • Asia

  • MEA and Africa