Celtic Zeta, Presence of Zearalenone

The Presence of zearalenone in the diet of dairy cattle in the Comarca Lagunera region

The Comarca Lagunera, being one of the most important milk basins in México,  is a very important reference point for the rest of the country in various aspects  related to milk production, as is the supply and reproduction, factors that go hand  in hand with animal health and profitability of dairy operations.

Considering the feeding of livestock, is of great importance to analyze its  quality and circumstances of the food that benefit or harm to cattle.

That is why Celtic Holland Division Mexico S.A. de C.V., after many years of offering services of analysis with recognized laboratories for the early detection of levels of mycotoxins in ingredients and rations totals (RTM),  during the year 2013 took as a task collect and analyze the results of sampling of the various ingredients that make up the diet of the stables of the Comarca Lagunera region, in particular for the presence of high levels of zearalenone, which has been widely identified as the main  cause of mycotoxin abortions and other severe problems in reproductive health of cattle; all this with the object to predict if the cattle has some risk of cattle; all this with the object to predict if the cattle run some risk of poisoning.

Mycotoxins are metabolites fungi that can decrease performance and alter metabolism and the health of livestock, they are substances produced as secondary metabolites under favorable conditions in the field or during the transport and  storage of food. The fungal toxins are metabolized in the liver and kidneys, as well as microorganisms in the digestive tract. Thanks to the presence of the rumen and their metabolites is probably greater in ruminants than in non-ruminants.

There are more than 400 types of mycotoxins, but the main for bovine animals include aflatoxin,  T-2 toxin, zearalenone, deoxynivalenol and ochratoxin (the latter only is toxic in very young calves).

The majority of mycotoxins importance are produced by three genera of fungi: Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium.

Zearalenone is a mycotoxin that can be produced by fungi present in many food ingredients, especially in cereals. That is why the dairy cattle, almost always fed with ingredients such as corn silage and various grains, may suffer long-term poisoning due to prolonged consumption of foods contaminated with high concentrations of zearalenone.

Origin of the Zearalenone

Zearalenone is a mycotoxin produced by several fungi of the genus Fusarium, but above all by: Fusarium graminearum, which prevails in temperate and humid areas of cultivation, growing at an optimum temperature of 25°C and relative humidity greater than 88%.

Fusarium culmorum, which is reproduced in those areas with environmental cold and humid conditions, growing at an optimum temperature of 21°C and relative humidity greater than 87%.

Zearalenone is formed mainly in the post-harvest of cereals (mainly maize and sorghum), but also affects the barley, oats, wheat and soybeans. The multiplication of these fungi and toxin production are the result of inadequate practices in hygiene, conservation, transport and storage of the food ingredients, but can also form by favorable climatic conditions for the production of the fungus; also, the physical damage to crops (for example those caused by hail, attacks of insects, rodents, birds, etc.) favor the proliferation of fungi and the consequent production of mycotoxins.

Zearalenone is usually present in the maize together with other mycotoxins, usually with trichothecenes such as deoxynivalenol. This substance is a mycotoxin thermo stable that resists freezing at -15° C.  Furthermore, the ambient temperature below 10° C with  relative humidity less than 33% are favorable conditions for the stability of the production of zearalenone.

The main syndrome that produces this mycotoxin is the estrogenic, affecting obviously to the entire system Zearalenone inhibits the follicular maturation and ovulation by reducing the concentration of FSH (a hormone follicular stimulating) because it can adopt a configuration  that allows the link up with 17-beta-estradiol receptors, giving rise to tables of hyperestrogenism with swelling and hypertrophy of the vulva, uterus, mammary gland and ovarian atrophy. Can also occur vaginal and rectal prolapse.

Way to avoid having Zearalenone?

There are two ways to prevent adverse effects of mycotoxins: one is to avoid that cows consume contaminated food, or use binders of mycotoxins (for example CelticÂź Zeta) that disable the toxic power of mycotoxins in a natural way in the digestive system of the animal and that are dosed in the food ration.

In the first case, there are indispensable good agronomic practices in crops, appropriate techniques of silage and antifungal treatments during storage, among other conditions However, and according to the experts, the use of binders of mycotoxins such as the Celtic¼ ZETA that has proved to be the most practical step and almost indispensable in the management of the modern livestock farms, since in practice it is almost impossible – especially by the high levels of mycotoxins that are reported in the modern livestock feed – ensure that will not exist in a ration of these contaminants. This is explained even better because the reproduction of the fungi is relatively simple and fast, because that to grow only need nutrients, temperature, moisture, oxygen and time.

The presence of zearalenone is not affected by low ambient temperatures, since it is resistant to them, as can be seen in the following charts:


Graph 1. The presence of zearalenone in silos of the Comarca Lagunera region.



Graph 2. The presence of zearalenone in the ration totally mixed (RTM) of stables of the Comarca Lagunera region.

The data shown in the graphs show us typical problems of the modern dairy ranches: the factors that determine the concentrations of mycotoxins are so broad that it is very difficult to control before the food reaches the final consumption of the animal.

We Know that the maximum permissible concentration of zearalenone will be 250 ppb in the diet of dairy cattle.

Graphs show that are high levels of zearalenone throughout the year in both the silos as in the ration. This breaks the myth that low temperatures does not proliferate this mycotoxin and can be done without the use of the sequestrants of mycotoxins mainly in winter, which is a serious risk because, in taking this decision, the animal is left unprotected and exposed to a process of immunosuppression that in a short period will reflect acute form in the health, production, and reproduction of the cows as well as in the development and fertility of females of replacement.

Although it is a reality that an abortion may also depend on many factors, if there are one or more obvious signs of hyperestrogenism, as the presence of gestating cows showing signs of warmth, riding or leaving mount, heats irregular, nymphomania, ovaries cystic, cows and finally services repeater high concentrations of zearalenone in food, that suggest a high possibility that the cause is a severe problem of zearalenonic micotoxicosis that must be faced immediately by supplementing the supply of the herd with CelticÂź ZETA.