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. While several mycotoxins have been found in corn grain, aflatoxins and DON (deoxynivalenol or vomitoxin) are considered to be two of the important mycotoxins.
As in the previous Harvest Reports, the 2016 harvest samples were tested for aflatoxins and DON for this year’s report. Since the production of mycotoxins is heavily influenced by growing conditions, the objective of the Harvest Report is strictly to report on instances when aflatoxins or DON are detected in the corn crop at harvest. No specific levels of the mycotoxins are reported.
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 Export Catchment Areas (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 the Harvest Reports, year-to-year patterns of mycotoxin presence in corn at harvest will be seen. The U.S. Grains Council 2016/2017 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report will report corn quality at export points and will be a more accurate indication of mycotoxin presence in the 2016/2017 U.S. corn export shipments.