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J Dairy Sci. 2018 May;101(5):4034-4059. doi: 10.3168/jds.2017-13788.

Silage review: Mycotoxins in silage: Occurrence, effects, prevention, and mitigation.

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Department of Animal Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville 32608.
Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Lallemand SAS, 19 rue des Briquetiers, B.P. 59, F-31702 Blagnac, France.
Chr Hansen, Animal Health and Nutrition, Chr. Hansen, Buenos Aires 1107, Argentina.
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824.
Department of Animal Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville 32608. Electronic address:


Ensiled forage, particularly corn silage, is an important component of dairy cow diets worldwide. Forages can be contaminated with several mycotoxins in the field pre-harvest, during storage, or after ensiling during feed-out. Exposure to dietary mycotoxins adversely affects the performance and health of livestock and can compromise human health. Several studies and surveys indicate that ruminants are often exposed to mycotoxins such as aflatoxins, trichothecenes, ochratoxin A, fumonisins, zearalenone, and many other fungal secondary metabolites, via the silage they ingest. Problems associated with mycotoxins in silage can be minimized by preventing fungal growth before and after ensiling. Proper silage management is essential to reduce mycotoxin contamination of dairy cow feeds, and certain mold-inhibiting chemical additives or microbial inoculants can also reduce the contamination levels. Several sequestering agents also can be added to diets to reduce mycotoxin levels, but their efficacy varies with the type and level of mycotoxin contamination. This article gives an overview of the types, prevalence, and levels of mycotoxin contamination in ensiled forages in different countries, and describes their adverse effects on health of ruminants, and effective prevention and mitigation strategies for dairy cow diets. Future research priorities discussed include research efforts to develop silage additives or rumen microbial innocula that degrade mycotoxins.


animal performance; health; mycotoxin

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