Long-term feeding of graded levels of deoxynivalenol in grower-finisher pigs
Researchers: Dr. Daniel Columbus, Dr. Denise Beaulieu,
Dr. Natacha Hogan, Dr. Veronika Nagl, Mr. Ken Engele
Co-Funders: Agriculture Development Fund
The mycotoxin deoxynivalanol (DON), is of significant importance to agriculture since it commonly contaminates critical feedstuffs such as corn, wheat, and barley and is one of the most prevalent mycotoxins.
DON intake general causes reduced performance and can have potentially negative impact on animal health. In general, the majority of studies on the effects of mycotoxins in swine are performed in young animals with the assumption that the physiological effects of consuming mycotoxin contaminated feed is highest in the young animal. Moreover, previous studies have examined the impact of mycotoxins over a relatively short period of time.
We conducted two studies to determine the impact of long-term feeding diets containing 0, 1, 3, or 5 ppm DON to either grower-finisher or finisher pigs. While there was an initial reduction in feed intake and average daily gain in both groups of pigs upon initiation of DON intake, performance recovered after a period of time, indicating that pigs can adapt to DON intake. The negative effects of DON were less when the initial introduction of DON-contaminated feed occurred earlier.
There appears to be little impact of DON intake on feed efficiency, nutrient utilization, or carcass characteristics. There was no indication of negative effects of DON intake on organ function or immune function. Feeding of DON-contaminated diets containing > 1 ppm DON significantly reduced margin over feed costs.
Overall, while pigs are capable of adapting to intake of DON-contaminated diets, adjustment would be needed in order to allow for feeding of diets containing > 1 ppm DON to reduce financial losses.