Aflatoxins are mycotoxins produced by fungi of the genus Aspergillus and Penicillium. Aflatoxins are toxic and, after entering the body, are metabolized by the liver. Their toxicity potential is very high and they can cause the death of any living being that consumes an infected cereal.

In AMBiotec we are very aware of the risk they pose in animal feed, and we develop solutions from our laboratories so that, applied to the raw materials of which feed is composed, the risks of mycotoxins on animal health and welfare are neutralized.

What are aflatoxins?

Aflatoxins are toxic substances produced by some kinds of fungi (molds) that occur naturally throughout the world. They can contaminate food crops and pose a serious hazard to human and livestock health, as well as a significant economic burden, causing at least 25% of the world’s food crops to be destroyed each year (WHO, 2018). 

The main culprits in the production of aflatoxins most harmful to public health are two closely related fungal species: Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. Under favorable conditions of high temperature and high humidity they can invade food crops.

Types of Aflatoxins

There are several types of aflatoxins, but four of them (aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 and G2) are dangerous to humans and animals, since they have been found in all major food crops. Most of the human exposure comes from contaminated nuts and cereals, as well as products derived from them. In addition, aflatoxin M1 (AFM1 ), a product of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1 ) metabolism, may be present in milk in areas where there is high aflatoxin exposure. Subsequently, humans may be exposed to it through milk and milk products, including breast milk, especially in areas where lower quality cereals are used to feed animals.

Aflatoxins and their effects on human health

Long-term exposure can have serious health consequences:

Aflatoxins are potent carcinogens that can affect any organ or system, and especially the liver and kidney. They cause liver cancer and have been linked to other cancers. AFB1 is carcinogenic to humans; the hepatocarcinogenic potency of aflatoxins is significantly increased in the presence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

Aflatoxins are mutagenic (affect DNA) to bacteria, genotoxic and may cause birth defects in children.

Children may be stunted, although these data have yet to be confirmed, as other factors may contribute to stunting, such as low socioeconomic status, chronic diarrhea, infectious diseases or malnutrition.

Aflatoxins cause immunosuppression, which can reduce resistance to infectious agents such as HIV or tubercle bacillus.

Large doses of aflatoxins cause acute toxicity (aflatoxicosis), which can be fatal, usually due to liver damage.

Aflatoxins and their effects on animal health

In addition to carcinogenic effects, other symptoms occur in animals, such as reduced weight gain, adverse effects on reproduction, damage to the immune system, severe symptoms of intoxication and even death when the mycotoxin dose is too high.

Different studies have shown adverse effects on the immune system of chickens in early stages of development and significant hematological and hepatic effects at high concentrations in adults.

Hepatotoxic effects have also been reported at high concentrations in quail as well as affecting egg production.

Among the aflatoxins, AFB1 is found to be highly toxic to most species, especially those highly susceptible such as rainbow trout, cats and ducks. Additionally, young animals are more susceptible than adults and females are more resistant than males.

How to control Aflatoxins?

Nowadays there is no adequate method to control the growth of fungi in all crops and every day there are increasing amounts of mycotoxins in cereals. One of the options to control the amount of aflatoxins in animals and their consequent transfer to humans through the consumption of products produced from animals, is the use of sequestrants in feed.


Micox Complet de AMBiotec

AMBIOTEC in its range oriented to control the effects of mycotoxins has MIC-OX COMPLET.  The combination of its components acts with a broad spectrum, sequestering and detoxifying the main mycotoxins that affect raw materials and produce health effects on animals and economic effects on livestock facilities. You can consult our complete range by species here.