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Traditionally, veterinarians and professionals who work in animal production have been trained to isolate or detect the causative agents of the clinical cases reported in poultry facilities.
Identification is often achieved by replicating the clinical signs of disease or poisoning observed in animals.
In the case of toxins, some feed factories often maintain experimental poultry sheds where they can test whether a nutritional ingredient or contaminant is causing the reported poisoning.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to identify the mycotoxins that caused different symptoms or lesions in the animals after seeing a case that we consider typical.
There are many reasons preventing us from reconfirming the relationship between what we see in the field and the presence of mycotoxins in the analysis, namely:
IRREGULAR DISTRIBUTION OF MYCOTOXINS
Unlike the protein or moisture content in corn or soybeans, mycotoxins are not evenly distributed. The main reason is that fungi don’t grow everywhere, only in specific places.
This trend can start in the field.
Some grains can contain high levels of mycotoxins while others do not.
At the level of feed factories, especially in the silos, fungi grow mostly where humidity is more prevalent, also known as “hot spots”.
The same phenomenon can occur in trucks, boats and other compartments where grain or feed gets stored.
A correct analysis means determining the average contamination of within a batch of grain or formulated feed. If proper sampling procedures are not followed, analytical results are likely to underestimate the true mycotoxin concentration.
The chances of identifying mycotoxins in feed increase if they are taken from feeders located on farms, because that feed has been stored inside the silos for about 5 to 7 days and about a day inside the house once it is transferred to the hoppers and then to the feeders (if they are automatic).
The length of time that the feed remains on the farms depends on the management in the company and the type of birds housed.
Unfortunately, even in clinical cases of mycotoxicosis where affected animals show typical lesions and where samples are taken in the right way and in the right place, we often do not identify mycotoxins during testing.
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