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Mycotoxins' impact on swine performance
Ines Rodrigues

In countries where livestock breeding, namely pigs, play an important role and where the animal potential is stretched to its limits, every factor disturbing the industry and the animal’s efficiency, such as mycotoxins, should be eliminated.


Mycotoxins are naturally occurring secondary metabolites produced by certain moulds/fungi as a result of their organic processes. There are some secondary metabolites of fungal origin medicinal or industrial applications, namely Penicillin.


Unfortunately, most mycotoxins are known to hazardously contaminate crops and consequently animal feeds and animal products, causing significant economic losses associated with their impact on animal and human health, animal productivity and domestic and international trade.


Animals vary in their susceptibility to mycotoxins, according to the age and the species of animal and the specific toxin involved. In general, pigs are considered the most susceptible animals to mycotoxin contamination and amongst them; young animals and female breeders are the most sensitive.


Animal performance is influenced by many factors. The major factors contributing to the profitability of the pig production industry are the number of pigs produced per sow and the feed cost of producing those pigs. The final objective of the pig producing industry is to maximise the amount of meat (kg) produced per sow per year, while maintaining sow condition and health.


In a feeding herd, there are some parameters that should be measured in order to assess its profitability, as they will influence the variable costs of a farm.


The occurrence of mycotoxins in feed has negative impact in the performance parameters and mortality will have a great economic impact as all money invested will generate no return. That will be reflected either by delayed animals to market or in a lower weight at the time of harvest.


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Article made possible through the contribution of Biomin.

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