On the effects of graded levels of Fusarium toxin contaminated wheat in diets for gilts on feed intake, growth performance and metabolism of deoxynivalenol and zearalenone



A total of 36 gilts (103 ± 6 kg) were divided into four groups and fed diets with increasing proportions of a Fusarium toxin contaminated wheat over a period of 35 days. The concentrations of the indicator toxins deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZON) which were analyzed by HPLC methods were 210 and 4, 3070 and 88, 6100 and 235 and 9570 and 358 μg·kg–1 diet fed to groups 1–4 respectively. Feed was partially refused during the first 21 days of the experiment by groups 2, 3 and 4 where two, three and six out of nine gilts were affected. No signs of hyperestrogenism or uterotrophic effects were observed due to dietary treatments. Blood serum, urine, bile and liver were analyzed for residues of DON, ZON and their metabolites. DON and its de-epoxidized metabolite (de-epoxy-DON) were detected in all analyzed specimens and increased in a significantly linearly related fashion. Alpha-zearalenol (α-ZOL) and β-ZOL could be detected besides the parent toxin ZON, but only in bile and urine. In conclusion, the impact of dietary treatments on the performance parameters was most pronounced in the highest exposed group. The maximum ratio between DON concentration in liver and diet was 0.0013, and suggests that a possible contamination of pig liver with DON is negligible and does not contribute significantly to human DON exposure.