Aflatoxins (AFs) content was analyzed in bovine feedstuff from dairy farms in Spain.¿None of the samples exceeds AFB1 legislation but a high incidence (90%) was found.¿Geographical location, unlike season or feeding system, had limited influence on AFs.¿Organic homemade feedstuff showed non-detected level of AFs throughout the study.
Aflatoxins (B1, B2, G1 and G2) are produced by the fungi Aspergillus (A. flavus and A. parasiticus) in substrates used in cattle feed manufacturing. Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) is a major metabolite of Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) which may be present in milk from animals that consume contaminated feed. Levels of aflatoxins in 78 dairy cow feedstuff samples from 40 farms located in Navarra were determined by HPLC-FLD (High Performance Liquid Chromatography with fluorescence detection) and post-column derivatization. The influence of geographical location, season and type of feeding system on aflatoxin content was studied. The climatic profile of AFB1 pointed to spring as the season with the highest aflatoxin level (0.086¿g/kg), followed by winter and summer (0.075 and 0.030¿g/kg, respectively), and to a lesser degree, autumn (0.017¿g/kg). Moreover, wet and dry TMR (Total Mixed Ration) feeding systems (i.e. AFB1: 0.076 and 0.068¿g/kg; Aflatoxin G1 (AFG1): 0.050 and 0.011¿g/kg, respectively) showed a greater content of the analyzed aflatoxins in comparison with compound feed (i.e. AFB1: 0.039¿g/kg; AFG1: 0.007¿g/kg). The fact that the majority of the samples collected were based on compound feed shows that this type was preferred by most dairy farmers. The undetectable levels of aflatoxins in the organic homemade compound feedstuff are also worth mentioning. While none of the feedstuff samples contained amounts over those permitted under European legislation (5¿g/kg), the theoretical extrapolation of the carryover rate suggested in previously published experiments of AFB1 to AFM1 in secreted cow's milk predicts that only one of the feed samples studied had a positive aflatoxin level (53.4ng/kg) higher than the legal limit for raw cow's milk.