Mycotoxins are chemical and biological hazards to feed/food safety and animal health. Surveys havebeen performed to assess the worldwide incidence of mycotoxin contamination in feed and raw feed materials, mainly grains and grain co-products. Worldwide, the incidence of co-contamination is high.

The global monitoring reported that 72% of the samples of feed and raw materials were contaminatedwith more than one mycotoxin. Co-contamination is a great concern, as it may cause adverse effects on animals due to the additive/synergistic interactions of the mycotoxins. Modified mycotoxins differ in structure, solubility, polarity, and molecular mass from the parental compound. The possibility ofmodified mycotoxin conversion to its free form may involve risks for human and animal health. Climate change has an impact on the occurrence of feed/food safety hazards along the whole agrifood chain from farm to fork. Mould growth and mycotoxin production is highly dependent on environmental factors, such as relative humidity, temperature, oxygen and CO2. Climate change influences the global agricultural sector by restrictions in water, cultivated land, and rising global temperature, which increases humidity. This high humidity increases crop moisture levels, enabling fungal growth and mycotoxin formation. Extreme climate conditions such as floods and droughts may be factors in crop contamination by various species of toxigenic fungi and related mycotoxins.

An integrated system is based on the synchronised use of prevention and control implements at all stages of production from the field to the final consumer. Commodities can become contaminated with mycotoxins in the production cycle, i.e., at each stage from the field through harvesting, processing, storage, and transportation. Use of an integrated system is an approach for managing mycotoxin risks in the feed supply chain. It includes fixing regulatory limits, programming a precise monitoring and cultivation control, and production phases. In addition, it proposes solutions to nonconformities that may take place and, widespread training of all operators in the feed chain. The main suggested strategies for decontamination include elimination of mycotoxins from grains, decreasing the mycotoxins bioavailability in the animal gastrointestinal tracts, or directly degrading mycotoxins in feeds. Mycotoxins are studied less from a Nano technological point of view, although this sector is evolving.

Pre-harvest strategies include the choice of appropriate agronomic techniques, increasing biotechnological strategies, which protect the crop during vegetative growth; Nano and bio fungicides reduce the amount of chemical substances and the environmental impact. Mycotoxin contamination can occur in farms after harvesting or during the storage process. Improper storage of grain leads to quality and quantity losses. Modern technologies focus on controlling silos and facilities atmosphere, such as sensing technologies like e- nose, which can detect the presence of pests and insect by volatile metabolic substances emitted. A coordinated mycotoxin feed mill management program starts with wide-ranging quality controls. It must include more than merely testing for mycotoxins during the receiving process, and it must have strategies to prevent their introduction into the manufacturing process. Non-invasive decontamination methods do not alter the chemical composition and the quality of the raw materials but have a certain effectiveness in reducing the presence of mycotoxins. Many of these techniques are diffused in the food industry, but studies in feed manufacturing are few or non-existent. Decontamination techniques are sustainable and they include ozone, cold plasma, electromagnetic radiation (gamma radiation, pulsed-light, radio frequency, and microwaves). Nanomaterials have a leading role in photocatalytic mycotoxin degradation as well as packaging innovations and are important in this feed chain phase (active and intelligent packaging, nanofibers, PICS). Micotoxin contamination can occur in meat, milk and food of
animal origin supply chains. Organic binders and the bio-transforming agents are degradable and eco- sustainable, and they have low inclusion rates, multiple-mycotoxin binding ability, economic feasibility, high specificity and no toxicity. Biotransformation transforms non-absorbable mycotoxins into innocuous elements without risks to livestock.

An Integrated Mycotoxins Management System in the feed/food chain is needed. Emerging, modified mycotoxin and co-occurrence are still a new issue of research areas such as climate change and environmental sustainability. Perhaps innovative techniques and technologies for mycotoxins control will be developed, opening new research areas and frontiers.

The fulltext paper is available here