Two related feed additives failed to resolve the impact of mycotoxin contamination in a nursery pig trial.

Feeding diets containing about 2 ppm Deoxynivalenol (DON), a mycotoxin, depressed feed intake by almost 10% when consumed by nursery pigs for three weeks.

Moreover, feed additives, regardless of their mode of action, did not reverse the detrimental effects of the mycotoxin.

DON is a mycotoxin produced by fusarium molds found in corn and wheat. Pigs consuming DON-contaminated feed will initially reduce the amount of feed consumed as well as growth rate. Signs such as vomiting are evident if the contamination is severe. This can have serious consequences resulting in an economic loss of 8-10 ($CAN)/hog (under average market conditions).

Several feed additives are reported to reduce the effect of the mycotoxin by either binding the mycotoxin in the gut and preventing absorption, chemically transforming the toxin to decrease its toxicity or enhancing immune system function.

To test the additives, five nurseries with 24 pens/nursery and four pigs/pen weighing 20 lb. were fed 0.6 lb. of Provision 1, then Provision 2 (FeedRite, Winnipeg, Canada) until Day 14, and treatment diets containing DON from Day 15-35, postweaning.

Pigs were weighed seven and 14 days postweaning, and at the start and end of treatment diets at 35 days of age when they exited the nursery.

Treatment diets were formulated to meet or exceed nutrient requirements for pigs of this age. Samples of corn shown to contain DON were used for 35% of the corn in nursery diets to provide an average of 2 ppm DON in the nursery diets.

Diet samples showed control diets were negative for DON, compared to up to 2.61 ppm DON in late nursery diets.

Overall, average daily gain and average daily feed intake of control pigs were superior to pigs consuming a diet containing DON, regardless of the feed additive used.

Researchers: A.D. Beaulieu, J.F. Patience and D. Gillis, all of the Prairie Swine Center at Saskatchewan, Canada. Contact PSC's Ken Engele by phone (306) 373-9922, fax (306) 955-2510 or e-mail Ken.Engele@usask.ca.