Smartphone technology useful in mycotoxin management: Nutriad

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Nutriad has developed a smartphone app to translate, in real time, the results of mycotoxin analyses into recommendations on proper dosage of mycotoxin deactivators.

The Belgian company said the changing quality and availability of raw materials leads to an increasing need for efficient ways of measuring the level of mycotoxin contamination, allowing producers to respond quickly.

“The development of the app, Mycoman, came about through the fact that our team along with feed mill and farmer end users in the US could not rely on our mycotoxin product guide in terms of dosage levels as mycotoxin contamination levels are given in parts per billion (ppb) as opposed to more commonly used parts per million (ppm) in the US so there was confusion as to which deactivator to use. 

“The app addresses that challenge in that it offers the choice of calculation in either ppb or ppm measurements,” Radka Borutova, business development manager, Nutriad, told FeedNavigator. 

Mycotoxins may cause various toxic effects or mycotoxicosis, says Nutriad.

Symptoms caused by mycotoxin contamination depend not only on the level and type of mycotoxin, but also on several factors such as animal species, sex, environment, nutritional and health status and other toxic entities.  

Diagnosis of mycotoxicosis is often very difficult because the effects of mycotoxins in animals are diverse, varying from specific to unspecific symptoms like immune suppression, diarrhoea, haemorrhages or reduced performance, added the company.

The interface is clean and the app is easy to use, she said, but it is backed by copious amounts of data. “It was developed by an external company and took a long time to design,” added Borutova.

The app, which is targeted at feed mill managers or farmers who do their own on-farm feed mixing, is just one step in an effective mycotoxin program, she said.

“Mycoman, which can be used on IOS apple or Android devices, complements information obtained following rapid mycotoxin analyses of raw materials at the purchasing stage and at the finished feed stage as well.

“The tool will calculate which of the Nutriad mycotoxin deactivators products to use and the effective dosage by taking into account the data the user submitted on the level of mycotoxin contamination in the feed and the target animal,” continued Borutova.

The app will provide information on the inherent risk – low, medium or high - according to the levels of contamination registered and the target animal data submitted. The feed mill manager or farmer will also receive an email with a summary of the recommendations.

She said it is not adaptable to competitors’ products as even similar deactivators have varying constituents.

The plan is to further develop the software. “We intend to expand its capabilities,” said Borutova.

Discussing mycotoxin contamination mitigation, she said the best practical way to control the levels of the toxins in feed is to use rapid test kit systems for the analysis of raw ingredients which are not yet in silos.

And another critical step in mycotoxin risk management is to test for the presence of mycotoxins in finished feeds, added Borutova.

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