Transmission of ZEN, DON, and their derivatives from sows to piglets

Schothorst Feed Research studied the transmission of ZEN, DON, and their derivatives during gestation and lactation of sows. In this study the mycotoxin levels in colostrum and milk from sows was measured, as well as in the serum from sows and piglets.



Mycotoxins (ppb) Zearalenone


Fumonisin B1+B2 Alternariol

Alternariol ME Beauvericin Enniatin A1 Enniatin B Enniatin B1

he key reason for the studies performed at Schot- horst Feed Research (SFR) is to determine the risks of mycotoxins to animal health and performance under practical conditions. This means that we do

not expose the animals to extremely high levels of mycotox- ins, but to those close to EU regulatory limits. Recently, in co- operation with the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health (Brunswick, Germany) and Olmix (France), we evaluat- ed the transmission of ZEN, DON, and their derivatives during the last week of gestation and during lactation of sows, as measured in the colostrum and milk from sows, as well as in

Table 1 – Multi-mycotoxins analyses of the diets (levels in ppb).


LoZEN 118 259

83.1 26.9 68.5 19.8 3.5

32.6 9.2

HiZEN 318 255

84.0 29.5 68.6 27.7 -

28.9 8.6

Below detection level in all diets: Aflatoxin B1, B2, G1, and G2, 3+15 Ac-DON, DON-3-G, Nivalenol, Ochratoxin A, T2 & HT2 Toxin, Diacetoxyscirpenol, Cytochalasine E, Sterigmatocystin, Alternariol ME, Citrinin, Roquefortine C, Enniatin A, A1, B and B1, Moniliformin.

14 ▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 29, No. 1, 2021

the serum from sows and piglets. This study was published in the open access journal Toxins. The main findings are summarised below.

Transmission into colostrum and milk Zearalenone (ZEN) and deoxynivalenol (DON) are the myco- toxins that are most commonly found in feed, especially feed based on corn and beet pulp. It is well known that exposure to high concentrations of ZEN or DON results in their trans- mission into milk. Even if the EU guidance values of these mycotoxins are followed in the final diet, transmission into the colostrum and milk from sows and into their piglets may still occur. Zearalenone and its derivatives, such as α-ZEL and β-ZEL, have a conformation similar to that of oestradiol, allowing them to bind oestrogenic receptors. Also, ZEN is rapidly metabolised by the gastrointestinal tract after inges- tion, producing some metabolites that are even more toxic, such as α-ZEL. This shows the importance of measuring ZEN derivatives in milk and serum.

Three treatments In this study, two different batches of beet pulp were used to prepare the diets, resulting in a diet containing 100 ppb ZEN, and another with 300 ppb ZEN. When preparing diets with different feedstuffs, multi-mycotoxin contamination is hard to avoid. Although the beet pulp used in the present study was not a source of DON, the combination of all the other feed- stuffs used to prepare the feed resulted in a final diet contain- ing approximately 250 ppb of DON. This level is much lower than the EU recommended one (900 ppb) and can be regard- ed as background contamination of pig feed. However, some impact on the intestinal integrity was hypothesised, particu- larly in combination with the intended ZEN dosing regimen. The trial consisted of three treatments: - T1: LoZEN from d109 gestation until d26 of lactation. - T2: LoZEN from d109 gestation until farrowing and HiZEN from farrowing until d26 of lactation.

- T3: HiZEN from d109 gestation until d26 of lactation. The mycotoxin levels in the experimental diets are shown in Table 1.


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