Mycotoxicoses cause heavy economic loss due to high morbidity and consequent production loss. Low grade mortality is also recorded. The main toxins involved are aflatoxin, occharotoxin, T2 toxin and steregmatocystin. Primarily the species Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium are considered important for mycotoxicoses. These toxins are produced by fungi in feed which are not preserved properly. Diseases caused by mycotoxins are:
(i) not contagious
(ii) they are connected with food and/or specific feed
(iii) they are similar to avitaminoses
(iv) they are not treated with antibiotics or other medicines
(v) they do not cause an immunological response in the organism because they are of small molecular mass and the animals are permanently protected from their effects.
The content of mycotoxins in food and/or feed in practical conditions more often causes the appearance of chronic mycotoxicoses, and the effects of smaller quantities over a longer period of time are the same as of larger quantities over a short period. The early or timely establishment of the presence of mycotoxins in feed and the subsequent elimination of the contaminated feed can alleviate the negative effects, but a certain time period is required for the elimination of the resorbed quantities of mycotoxins and the disappearance of the harmful effect. Several measures have been taken to cure the contaminated feed, but the success rate and economic considerations are not satisfactory. The only way to prevent the condition is to provide a clean feed to the animals and birds. Testing of the feed or feed ingredients is therefore essential especially in poultry and dairy husbandry to save economic losses. Regular monitoring of sanitary hygiene of feed must be practiced to prevent the harmful effects of mycotoxins.