December 17, 2018

ZENzyme: The future of mycotoxin detoxification

by Rebecca Sherratt, Production editor, Milling & Grain

As the population of the world only continues to increase, the need for a drastic increase in food production becomes only ever more vital to combat issues of world hunger.

It is estimated that the Earth increases in population by a whopping 83 million people per year, and our population has increased seven-fold since the beginning of the nineteenth-century. Feeding our 7.7 billion people is no easy task when climate change and pollution are continuing to cause problems for our food supplies.

This is also a multi-layered problem, as this increase in food production we so desperately need also cannot afford to come at a cost to our natural ecosystem and biodiversity. This gap between resources we have and resources we need is what is known as a ‘yield gap’, and this gap only continues to expand as the human race continues to populate the earth at a drastic level.

Thankfully, Biomin have a solution. At the World Nutrition Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, their Austrian Research Team Leader, Dr Wulf-Dieter Moll, delivered a thrilling talk about the future of mycotoxins.

The primary problem

There are a myriad of reasons for the yield gap, such as failing crops caused by harsh winters and overwhelming droughts, but one key reason is the contamination of feed by mycotoxins, one of the primary ones being zearalenone. Dr Moll discusses the dangers of zearalenone, and the imminent need to resolve the problems it causes. This mycotoxin is an estrogenic metabolite, produced by Fusarium, a common fungi menace for many farmers. This pathogen is commonly found in wheat, maize and other crops.

Zearalenone binds itself to the oestrogen receptors in livestock, interfering with natural hormone signalling. This can result in a variety of reproductive problems, such as livestock infertility, abortion and other breeding problems. Farmers need only imagine the damage Zearalenone can do, if an entire herd of livestock becomes affected with such a contaminant.

Animal nutrition innovators, Biomin, are working rapidly on a mycotoxin decontamination technology, which will work by utilising what we already know regarding detoxification and biological degradation. A discovery of a new family of enzymes for hydrolytic cleavage (the splitting of a compound into fragments via adding water), and detoxification of zearalenone seem to be the new answer to mycotoxin contamination, which Biomin is determined to make into an attainable product for the feed industry worldwide.

Read more HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine Milling and Grain
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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