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J Appl Microbiol. 2013 Sep;115(3):637-43. doi: 10.1111/jam.12178. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

Fungi and mycotoxins in silage: an overview.

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Departamento de Microbiología e Inmunología, Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto, Río Cuarto, Argentina.


The present revision shows the early and current knowledge in the field of silage fungi and mycotoxins explaining the relevance of fungi and mycotoxins in silage. The problem does not end in animal disease or production losses as mycotoxins in feed can lead to the presence of their metabolic products in dairy products, which will be eventually affecting human health, mainly infants. Silage is green forage preserved by lactic fermentation under anaerobic conditions. This ecosystem maintains its quality and nutritional value depending on interactions among physical, chemical and biological agents. Forages used for ensilage are naturally in contact with yeasts and filamentous fungi, and the contamination often occurs in the field and can also occur during harvesting, transport, storage. Moreover, postharvest poor management can lead to a rapid spoilage. Studies on fungal contamination of dairy cattle feed have shown how corn silage influences the contamination degree of feed supplied to livestock. Increasing knowledge in this area will help elucidate the influence that this microbiota exerts on production and/or degradation of mycotoxins present in silage. Some of these fungi, although opportunist pathogens, are relevant epidemiologically and represent a high risk of contamination to farm workers who handle them improperly.


animal and human health; fungi; mycotoxins; silage

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