E. Mycotoxin Testing

Detection of mycotoxins in corn is complex. The fungi producing the mycotoxins often do not grow uniformly in a field or across a geographic area. As a result, the detection of any mycotoxin in corn, if present, is highly dependent upon the concentration and distribution of the mycotoxin among kernels in a lot of corn, whether a truck load, a storage bin, or a railcar.

The objective of the FGIS sampling process is to minimize underestimating or overestimating the true mycotoxin concentration, since accurate results are imperative for corn exports. However, the objective of the 2016/2017 Corn Harvest Quality Report assessment of mycotoxins is only to report the frequency of occurrences of the mycotoxin in the current crop, and not to report specific levels of the mycotoxin in corn exports.

To report the frequency of occurrences of aflatoxins and DON for the 2016/2017 Corn Harvest Quality Report, IPG Lab performed the mycotoxin testing using FGIS protocol and approved test kits. FGIS’s protocol requires a minimum of a 908-gram (2-pound) sample from trucks to grind for aflatoxin testing and approximately a 200-gram sample to grind for DON testing. For this study, a 1000-gram laboratory sample was subdivided from the 2-kg survey sample of shelled kernels for the aflatoxin analysis. The 1-kg survey sample was ground in a Romer Model 2A mill so that 60-75% would pass a 20-mesh screen. From this well-mixed ground material, a 50-gram test portion was removed for each mycotoxin tested. EnviroLogix AQ 109 BG and AQ 254 BG quantitative test kits were used for the aflatoxin and DON analysis, respectively. The DON was extracted with water (5:1), while the aflatoxins were extracted with 50% ethanol (2:1). The extracts were tested using the Envirologix QuickTox lateral flow strips, and the mycotoxins were quantified by the QuickScan system.

The EnviroLogix quantitative test kits report specific concentration levels of the mycotoxin if the concentration level exceeds a specific level called a “Limit of Detection” (LOD). The LOD is defined as the lowest concentration level that can be measured with an analytical method that is statistically different from measuring an analytical blank (absence of a mycotoxin). The LOD will vary among different types of mycotoxins, test kits, and commodity combinations. The LOD for the EnviroLogix AQ 109 BG and AQ 254 BG are 2.5 parts per billion (ppb) for aflatoxins and 0.3 parts per million (ppm) for DON.

A letter of performance has been issued by FGIS for the quantification of aflatoxins and DON using the Envirologix AQ 109 BG and AQ 254 BG kits, respectively.