New Products

Nutriad developing Mycotoxin Rapid Test Kit

Belgium based feed additive specialist Nutriad and Ghent University have been working for two years on a project developing a prototype rapid test kit for mycotoxins.
June 23, 2015

Belgium based feed additive specialist Nutriad and Ghent University have been working for two years on a project developing a prototype rapid test kit for mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins are natural, relatively small secondary metabolites, produced by fungal species eg Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium etc, growing on agricultural commodities both in the field and during storage. Mycotoxins cause different biochemical, functional and morphological disorders in the organs of humans and animals, which can lead to higher morbidity and mortality. Animal exposure to mycotoxins occurs mainly through ingestion of contaminated feed, whereas humans can be harmed by eating contaminated vegetables, cereals and contaminated meat.

It is inevitable that under certain conditions, mycotoxin contamination of various foodstuffs is unavoidable. However, its control and prevention in the field is an aim of agricultural and food industries.

Erik Visser, CEO of Nutriad said: “Our technical team is convinced that one of the best practical ways to detect mycotoxin exposure in raw materials and feed is through use of rapid tests.”

Various rapid systems for detection of different mycotoxins are commercially available. All of them are suitable for quick and sensitive screening of raw materials before they enter feed mill. Once mycotoxin levels are evaluated in all ingredients, the contamination level of a feed mill can be estimated. This allows a precise calculation to be made of the level of mycotoxin deactivator or binder needed.

“Whilst these rapid techniques have good analytical performances, most of them are applicable to one specific mycotoxin, which significantly limits their application,” explained Visser.

Various fungi are able to produce several mycotoxins simultaneously, while food and feed can be contaminated by several fungi species at the same time. In addition, blends of various raw materials in compound feed can increase the risk of feed contamination by several toxins. Therefore, humans and animals are generally exposed to several toxins at the same time.

This indicates that a strong need for the development of multi-detection approaches is required. Sample throughput is an important criterion when a large sample series needs to be monitored for multiple toxins, since time is of essence. As a rule, these rapid testing techniques may not require complicated sample pretreatment except for one-step extraction and/or dilution.

Nutriad collaborated with Ghent University for two years and developed the sensitive flow-through membrane-based immunochemical test. This test is used for simultaneous rapid semi-quantitative detection of four mycotoxins (deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, ochratoxin A and aflatoxin B1) in the most critical sources such as feed, wheat, barley and maize. The achieved cut-off values are 200 ppb, 50 ppb, 10 ppb and 1 ppb for deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, ochratoxin A and aflatoxin B1, respectively. Although this on-site test might be less precise and specific than chromatography, it allows operating in the ng mL-1 range and is suitable for preliminary on-site screening of large numbers of samples.
The results of this work were presented at the 10th conference RME 2015: Food, feed, water analysis (20-22 April, 2015, Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands) and the 37th Mycotoxin Workshop (June 1st-3rd, Bratislava, Slovakia).

Olga Averkieva, Business Development Manager for Nutriad said: “The project led to development of the first prototype, and we have to undertake further research into the development of functional and very simple rapid test kit systems, as the practical tool for mycotoxin management, for customers of our range of mycotoxin deactivators of UNIKE® and TOXY-NIL® brands.”
Nutriad delivers products and services to over 80 countries through a network of own sales offices and distributors, supported by four laboratories and five manufacturing facilities on three continents. Find out more at