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Mold inhibitors are feed additives used to minimize mold contamination and prevent mold growth in grain and feed.
In livestock environments, mold inhibitors are the first line of defense against mycotoxins that can endanger the health of pigs. Mycotoxins such as aflatoxins, fumonosins, zearalenone, deoxynivalenol, and ochratoxin are created by molds that tend to grow on common livestock feed. Factors that tend to lead to the presence of mycotoxins in feed.include: Moisture in feed storage, Rapid change in environmental temperatures, Storing feed in warm, damp conditions.
Mycotoxins are particularly dangerous in livestock environments because the warm and humid conditions of livestock are particularly suitable for mold growth and toxin production. These toxins then lower pig’s resistance to diseases, in addition to causing liver and kidney damage, and potentially resulting in production and financial losses.
The greatest threat from mycotoxins tends to come from long-term exposure; as noted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the “main human and veterinary health burden of mycotoxin exposure is related to chronic exposure (e.g., cancer induction, kidney toxicity, immunosuppression)”. However, acute conditions (i.e. illnesses occurring shortly after exposure to mycotoxins) are also possible.
Typical mold inhibitors typically include organic acids and their salts such as propionic acid, calcium propionate or sorbic acid. Inhibitors often come in both natural and synthetic forms, and their uses vary depend on the goals and needs of the environment in which they are used.