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Functional Additives
Thursday, May 12, 2016 9:16:43 PM
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New technologies improve mycotoxin elimination: An update anno 2016





As our weapons in the fight against mycotoxins become more sophisticated, so must the methods we use to test their efficacy. Simulating intestinal conditions and "stress gene" technology are very helpful but sometimes no longer the best or fast approach to help to develop more effective elimination strategies. Recently Impextraco developed a wide range of in vivo protocols to determine the effect of mycotoxins in an early stage, using biomarkers.

Impextraco is continuously looking for the most up to date methods to evaluate and proof the efficacy of world renown mycotoxin eliminator, Elitox® . Elitox® combines three different strategies to maximize the reduction of mycotoxins.

Most mycotoxin adsorbents only bind within a certain pH-range and release the toxins as pH increases during gut propulsion. Nearly two decades ago, Impextraco introduced a gut simulation model enabling to select the most effective binders. Moreover, eliminating agents, such as enzymes and natural extracts were selected using a high throughput screening technique. The combined effect of this multiple strategy on the efficacy of eliminating mycotoxins in feed was extensively tested in vitro simulating the digestive tract. To do so Impextraco collaborated in a project to develop a gut simulator and still is intensively working on their in house gut simulation model.

The gut simulation model as a reference tool for in vitro research.

In order to determine the real binding and inactivation of mycotoxins, simple measurements in the feed are not sufficient, since the animal itself may influence the effect and pH plays an underestimated role in the absorption and desorption of certain binders. A perfect in vitro model of the animal would eliminate individual variation and control all other factors. Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect model, but the digestive tract has been well studied and several factors are easy to simulate. The following factors need to be taken into account: anaerobic environment, constant temperature, several subsequent environments at different pH, retention times and the correct subsequent addition of bile, pepsin and gut enzymes and the correct moisture to feed ratio. The advantage of this method is that by relatively simple and constant means the effects of the complete range of factors affecting in vitro results of toxin-binding can be observed.

Developing anti-mycotoxin products requires in vivo research to confirm in vitro observations. Alongside partnerships with universities, Impextraco runs its own research facilities and has validated animal models. These accurate strategies led to a unique combination of effective ingredients compiled in Elitox® , a reliable insurance policy against mycotoxins with proven efficacy in the field.

Elitox® has been already proven to be very effective in eliminating a broad range of mycotoxins, and still Impextraco's R&D department is continuously looking to improve it.

One of the most recent techniques, the one using biomarkers, has been introduced a few years ago in all our in vivo trials. Biomarkers are characteristics that are objectively measured and evaluated as indicators of biological processes, pathogenic or pharmacological responses to an intervention, such as mycotoxin ingestion. They need to be reliable, fast and easy to measure to order to find significant effects as early as possible in the animals reaction to mycotoxicosis. To find mycotoxin induced changes in the animals metabolism, Impextraco implements different strategies at the same time: blood biochemistry, flow cytometry and histopathology are just a few amongst them.

Blood biochemistry to learn more about general health status and organ functionality.

All mycotoxins affect animal health status due to their toxic characteristics, but they all work in a different way. Each mycotoxin needs a specific blood parameter to investigate its effect on the animal. Aflatoxin for example is hepatotoxic and blood parameters indicating liver functionality can reveal information to further increase our knowledge on the best way to eliminate its toxicity. Ochratoxins on the other hand are nephrotoxic and need different biomarkers to investigate their effects on kidney impairment due to ochratoxicosis. Impextraco is continuously improving their knowledge to understand the toxic effect of a wide range of mycotoxins and to develop fast methods to investigate the efficacy of their mycotoxin eliminator.


Evaluated effect

Total protein 

Biomarker for liver function


Biomarker for liver function

Reactive C-protein (CRP) 

Biomarker for inflammation


Biomarker for kidney function

Uric acid 

Biomarker for cell damage

Aspartate amminotransferase (AST)

Biomarker for damage to heart, liver, muscle, brain, kidney, pancreas,spleen, lung and blood cells

Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) 

Biomarker for liver function

Alkaline phosphatase (AP) 

Biomarker for liver damage as it is present in the hepatocytes

Flow cytometry as a great tool to study immune reactions.

Impextraco was one of the first companies investing in a spinoff company of the Catholic University of Parana to further develop the use of flow cytometry as a tool to gain information on the effect of mycotoxins on the animals immune reaction. Flow cytometry is a impedance-based, biophysical technology employed in cell counting, cell sorting, biomarker detection and protein engineering, by suspending cells in a stream of fluid and passing them by an electronic detection apparatus. It allows simultaneous multiparametric analysis of the physical and chemical characteristics of up to thousands of particles per second. Flow cytometry is routinely used in the diagnosis of health disorders, especially blood cancers, but has many other applications in basic research, clinical practices and clinical trials. Impextraco uses it to quantify the number of circulating immune cells, namely lymphocytes. This information enables Impextraco to determine the effect of different mycotoxins on the immune response in the animal and the efficacy of Elitox® in supporting the animal immune reaction when encountering mycotoxicosis.


Evaluated effect

Circulating CD4 + T lymphocytes

T-helper lymphocytes, modulating the immune system towards an action

Circulating CD8 + T lymphocytes 

Cytotoxic T-cell, killing damaged cells

Circulating monocytes

Preliminary cells differentiating to macrophages and dendritic cells, part of the innate immune system

Antigen-presenting cells

Process antigens and present them to T-cells, starting the immune reaction



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Article made possible through the contribution of Impextraco

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