Mycotoxin contamination of diets for beef cattle finishing in feedlot

ABSTRACT The objective of this survey was to identify what mycotoxins were present in ingredients used in diets offered to beef cattle in feedlots and their concentrations. The survey covered 30 Brazilian feedlots located in the five major beef-producing states. Samples of total mixed ration (TMR) and ingredients were collected and analyzed for mycotoxin using ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. Mycotoxin concentrations were further interpreted according to known species-specific sensitivities and normalized according to the principles of toxic equivalent factors (risk equivalent quantities - REQ) expressed in µg kg−1 of aflatoxin B1-equivalent. Forty percent of the visited feedlots had apparent fungi in TMR. However, only one feedlot (3%) used a mycotoxin adsorbent. On the other hand, diets with high contamination presented no apparent fungi. One hundred percent of TMR was contaminated. All samples presented at least one mycotoxin contamination, with 65.5% considered low contamination, 27.6% medium contamination, and 6.90% high contamination. The toxins identified in TMR were fumonisins (most frequently), trichothecenes A, trichothecenes B, fusaric acid, aflatoxins, and ergot (mean concentration values: 2,330, 104.3, 79.5, 105, 10.5, and 5.5 µg kg−1, respectively). According to the contamination of TMR samples per region, Mato Grosso do Sul state presented the highest contaminations. Peanut meal was the most contaminated ingredient. One hundred percent of TMR in Brazilian feedlot is contaminated. Fumonisins were the mycotoxin most frequent and at highest concentrations in TMR samples. Moreover, mycotoxin concentrations have a distinct pattern among ingredients, TMR, and feedlots (local).