Vomitoxin

by Eli Cook, Agribusiness major

For my blog post I researched vomitoxin, and found some very interesting information.  I was always aware of the existence of this from growing up on a grain farm, but I wasn’t informed about how serious it is.

If pigs are fed grain with a high vomitoxin percentage they will vomit profusely.  Most countries have set limits on vomitoxin because of its effects on humans and animals.  The FDA set a limit of 1 parts per million, while in some areas of Europe the level is even lower at 0.5 parts per million.

In the United States the monetary losses because of vomitoxin exceed 1 billion dollars yearly.  This is covering costs because of grain quality, feed, and animal losses.

Vomitoxin is also in all of our food that is made with grain.  When bread is baked for example, vomitoxin levels are only decreased by seven percent.  In China there have been many outbreaks of food poisoning because of vomitoxin.  When even low levels of vomitoxin are in the human stomach, they start tearing down the stomach walls, which causes food poisoning.  When this happens more than once it can eventually lead to food allergies, IBD, and celiac disease. Vomitoxin presents a serious problem in human and animal health and should be monitored closely to prevent reoccurring problems.

Sources

Nature’s Poisons
North Dakota State University Extension Service,  DON (Vomitoxin) in Wheat: Basic Questions and Answers
P.J. Johnson et. al, Effect of feeding dioxynivalenol (vomitoxin)-contaminated barley leaves to horses
D.E. Clark et. al, Effects of vomitoxin (deoxynivalenol) on conditioned saccharin aversion and food consumption in adult rats

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This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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