Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by fungi that occur naturally in grains. When consumed at elevated levels, mycotoxins may cause sickness in humans and animals. Aflatoxin, DON and fumonisin are considered to be three of the most common mycotoxins found in corn.
As in the previous Harvest Reports, a subset of the 2019 harvest samples was tested for aflatoxin and DON. In the 2019/2020 Harvest Report, fumonisins were added to the list of mycotoxins tested. The 2019/2020 Harvest Report now includes three mycotoxins: aflatoxin, DON and fumonisin. Since the production of mycotoxins is heavily influenced by growing conditions, the objective of the Harvest Report is strictly to report on instances when aflatoxin, DON or fumonisin are detected in the corn crop at harvest.
The Harvest Report review of mycotoxins is not intended to predict the presence or level at which mycotoxins might appear in U.S. corn exports. Due to the multiple stages of the U.S. grain merchandising channel and the laws and regulations guiding the industry, the levels at which mycotoxins appear in corn exports are less than what might first appear in the corn as it comes out of the field. In addition, this report is not meant to imply that this assessment will capture all the instances of mycotoxins across the 12 states or three ECAs surveyed. The Harvest Report’s results should be used only as one indicator of the potential for mycotoxin presence in the corn as the crop comes out of the field. As the Council accumulates several years of Harvest Reports, patterns of mycotoxin presence in corn at harvest will be seen year-to-year. The 2019/2020 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report will report corn quality at export points and will be a more accurate indication of mycotoxin presence in the 2019/2020 U.S. corn export shipments.