Co-Occurrence of Regulated, Masked and Emerging Mycotoxins and Secondary Metabolites in Finished Feed and Maize-An Extensive Survey

Toxins (Basel). 2016 Dec 6;8(12):363. doi: 10.3390/toxins8120363.


Global trade of agricultural commodities (e.g., animal feed) requires monitoring for fungal toxins. Also, little is known about masked and emerging toxins and metabolites. 1926 samples from 52 countries were analysed for toxins and metabolites. Of 162 compounds detected, up to 68 metabolites were found in a single sample. A subset of 1113 finished feed, maize and maize silage samples containing 57 compounds from 2012 to 2015 from 44 countries was investigated using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Deoxynivalenol (DON), zearalenone (ZEN) and fumonisins showed large increases of annual medians in Europe. Within a region, distinct trends were observed, suggesting importance of local meteorology and cultivars. In 2015, median DON concentrations increased to 1400 μ g·kg - 1 in Austria, but were stable in Germany at 350 μ g·kg - 1 . In 2014, enniatins occurred at median concentrations of 250 μ g·kg - 1 in Europe, at levels similar to DON and ZEN. The latter were frequently correlated with DON-3-glucoside and ZEN-14-sulfate. Co-occurrence of regulated toxins was frequent with e.g., enniatins, and moniliformin. Correlation was observed between DON and DON-3-glucoside and with beauvericin. Results indicate that considerably more than 25% of agricultural commodities could be contaminated with mycotoxins as suggested by FAO, although this is at least partly due to the lower limits of detection in the current survey. Observed contamination percentages ranged from 7.1 to 79% for B trichothecenes and 88% for ZEN.

Keywords: concentration data; emerging mycotoxins; global; masked mycotoxins; mycotoxin; secondary metabolites; survey.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Mycotoxins / analysis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Zea mays*


  • Mycotoxins