Some molds produce mycotoxins. The molds can invade feed and produce toxic com-
pounds that contaminate the feed. Molds can infect grain in the field, during harvesting, handling, and storage.
More than 200 mycotoxins have been identified, but only a few are believed to affect swine
performance. Risk to the pig from mycotoxin- contaminated feed depends on the age and
health of the pig and level of toxin in the feed. The most severe effect is death, but low levels of mycotoxin can hurt pig performance and general well being. When pigs eat feed containing a harmful mycotoxin, the toxin can affect the pig’s central nervous system, liver, kidney, immune system, or reproductive process.
Aflatoxin, zearalenone, and tricothecene (vomitoxin and T-2 toxin) are the most often
reported mycotoxin in swine feed. Each toxin is produced by a different mold. The conditions that promote growth of molds vary, although high moisture and warm temperatures are responsible for most mold growth on feedstuffs.