Innovad’s Myco-Marker: a pioneering mycotoxin service including blood biomarkers

myco marker innovad firstInnovad’s Dr Christos Gougoulias and Ben Letor spoke with Deblina Roy about the launch of Myco-Marker, a new service for evaluating the risk and measuring the exposure of mycotoxins in animals

The service is linked to the company’s scientifically proven technology for mycotoxin prevention and stress relief.

Far Eastern Agriculture (FEAG): What is Myco-Marker and how is it evaluating the risk and measure of mycotoxins in livestock?

Mycotoxin Analysis in Feed: Looking only at the tip of the iceberg

Determining mycotoxins in the feed is not adequate to assess their real impact in animal farming production. Up until now, mycotoxins are determined in animal production in feed ingredients and finished feeds. In that respect, feed analysis provides a rough estimate of the overall risk involved.

“Feed sampling on its own is problematic. Nearly 90 per cent of the error comes from the sampling itself whereas, only approximate 10 per cent is due to analytical error,” said Dr Christos Gougoulias, head of innovation in Innovad, Belgium. “Everyone is aware of ‘hotspots’ during feed sampling. Additionally, routine feed sampling does not determine masked mycotoxins. These limitations lead to high underestimation of the true risk of mycotoxins to animals.” 

Myco-Marker: Do it differently – do it correctly

When feed is ingested in animals, any mycotoxins present are metabolised into phase one and phase two metabolites. This is an animal species-specific process.

myco marker innovad“The fact that we completely ignore the fate of the mycotoxins in the blood of the animals (via adequate biomonitoring) forms the heart of the problem,” noted Dr Gougoulias.

Innovad, in collaboration with the University of Ghent, Belgium, has conducted research that validated state-of-the-art chromatography-based analytical methodology (LC-MS/MS) for the precise detection of mycotoxins and their transformation into phase one and phase two metabolites in the bloodstream of animals. The company validated that DON-sulfate is a good biomarker of DON in the blood of chickens whereas DON-glucoronide is a good biomarker of DON in the blood of pigs. 

Correlating mycotoxin data

Up until now, nobody has correlated thepresenceof mycotoxins in feed, with the actual levels of mycotoxins and their metabolites in blood (biomarkers of exposure) and, ultimately, with the true impact of mycotoxins to animals. “To capture the latter, Myco-Marker collects the health picture of the animals with the help of a detailed questionnaire. In the end, by recording all these elements we are aiming to build a database that could help us pull out meaningful trends,” said Dr Gougoulias.

Innovad has handled a case of a large swine integrator where the Myco-Marker feed analysis revealed only low exposure to deoxynivalenol and zearalenone. The complimentary Myco-Marker analysis confirmed the presence of these two mycotoxins in blood and revealed significant and persistent exposure to other non-regulated mycotoxins.

The Myco-Marker analysis revealed that the vast majority of the animals sampled were exposed to tenuazonic acid at concentrations between approximately 2.5 per cent and five per cent of the median concentration (82 ppb) that was reported last year, in a recent large-scale analysis study of multiple mycotoxins in finished pig feed.

FEAG: How is Innovad is planning to promote Myco-Marker in Asia?

Innovad formally launched Myco-Marker at the IPPE (Atlanta, USA) and MVC (Moscow, Russia) trade fairs in the beginning of this year. During the Q1 2020, the concept was introduced to its global sales and distribution network.

Ben Letor, global sales director at Innovad, explained, “The introduction grabbed a lot of interest as the industry is eager to get a better grip on the risk and economic impact of mycotoxins on a farm. Myco-Marker fills a gap by supporting producers and veterinarians in identifying the problems and in their strategy to mitigate the situation.”

The service is already introduced at specific clients and it is clear how it can contribute to each individual operation. To optimally benefit from the whole interpretation of the results of the service, Myco-Marker follows a very specific protocol.

FEAG: Is there any plan for further expansion in other Asian countries in the future?

Asia is a strategic region that has already embarked into European technologies as alternatives to medication. Innovad has an active presence in most Asian countries with an established distribution network.

“Innovad has a growing presence in Asia with its own offices in major countries in the region such as Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore. In fact, we are continuously investing in the appropriate resources to ensure that the company’s solutions. The Myco-Marker service is easily available to the market to serve its needs,” Ben Letor added.

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