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Major crops affected:

Corn, Corn Silage, Peanuts, and Cottonseed

Associated mold:

Aspergillus Flavus, Aspergillus Parasiticus, and Aspergillus Nomius (Kurtzman, 1987)

Conditions favoring production:

Heat and drought stress pre-harvest. Heat and humidity post-harvest.


Primary target is the liver resulting in abnormal blood clotting, development of jaundice, hemorrhaging, and reductions of the immune response. Aflatoxin has also been shown to affect rumen function in vitro and in vivo by decreasing cellulose digestion, volatile fatty acid formation, and proteolysis. (Fehr and Delage, 1970; Dvorak et al., 1977)

Acute: Inappetance, lethargy, ataxia, rough hair coat, and pale/enlarged fatty livers.

Chronic: reduced feed efficiency and milk production, jaundice, and decreased appetite. Also lowers resistance to diseases and interferes with vaccine-induced immunity. (Diekman and Green, 1992)

FDA Action Levels

For Level Commodities
All animal species 20 ppb All feed (exceptions below)
Breeding cattle, breeding swine, mature poultry
100 ppb Corn
Finishing swine (>100 lbs.) 200 ppb Corn
Finishing beef cattle 300 ppb Corn and peanut products
Beef cattle, swine or poultry 300 ppb Cottonseed meal
Immature animals 20 ppb Animal feeds and ingredients, excluding cottonseed meal
Dairy animals, animals not listed above, or unknown use 20 ppb Animal feeds and ingredients
Milk <0.5 ppb  


Kurtzman, C.P., B.W. Horn, and C.W. Hesseltine. 1987. Aspergillus nomius, a new aflatoxin-producing species related to Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus tamarii. Anton v. Leeuwenhoek 53:147-158.

Fehr, P.M. and J. Delage. 1970. Effect de l'aflatoxine sur les fermentation du rumen. Can. Nutr. Diet. 5:59-61.

Diekman, D.A., and M.L. Green. 1992. Mycotoxins and reproduction in domestic livestock. J. Anim. Sci. 70:1615-1627.

"Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations." CPG Sec. 683.100 Action Levels for Aflatoxins in Animal Feeds. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 28 Oct. 1994. Web. 19 Sept. 2013.

For more information call Dairyland Laboratories, Inc. at 608-323-2123 or contact us here.