Ergot alkaloids are mycotoxins produced by certain species of fungi, primarily belonging to the Claviceps genus. These toxins pose a significant risk to animal health and productivity when present in animal feed (Arcella, 2017). In recent years, there has been an increased focus on understanding the implications of ergot alkaloids in animal nutrition and developing effective strategies to mitigate their negative effects. This article aims to provide an overview of ergot alkaloids in animal nutrition, including their definition, mode of action, toxic effects, and the strategies to minimize their impact on animal health.

Impact of ergot alkaloids on animal nutrition

Ergot alkaloids are naturally occurring toxins that contaminate grains such as rye, wheat, barley, and oats, which serve as host plants for the fungi that produce these mycotoxins. The most common ergot alkaloids include ergotamine, ergosine, and ergocristine. When animals consume feed contaminated with these mycotoxins, they can experience a range of adverse effects, affecting their overall health, growth, and reproductive performance (Coufal, 2016). 

Ergot alkaloids have a significant impact on animal health due to their ability to bind to certain receptors in the body and interfere with normal physiological processes. These toxins can cause vasoconstriction, leading to reduced blood flow and nutrient delivery to vital organs. They also affect neurotransmitter activity, hormonal balance, and immune function in animals. Consequently, animals exposed to ergot alkaloids may suffer from reduced feed intake, impaired growth, altered reproductive performance, lameness, and other health complications  (Thompson, 2017). 

The toxic effects of ergot alkaloids can vary depending on the concentration, duration of exposure, and animal species. Animals consuming feed contaminated with high levels of ergot alkaloids may experience severe symptoms, including gangrene, nervous disorders, and even death.

How to minimize the impact of ergot alkaloids?

Ergot alkaloids pose a significant challenge in animal nutrition, affecting animal health, growth, and productivity. However, through awareness, proper management practices, and the implementation of effective mitigation strategies, the risks associated with ergot alkaloids can be minimized. Continuous monitoring, quality control, and the use of appropriate feed additives and supplements are key to safeguarding animal welfare and optimizing production efficiency in the face of ergot alkaloids contamination. 

BIŌNTE has developed the product BIŌNTE® QUIMITŌX® PLUS, a specific combination of minerals, phytogenics, and organic components effective in mitigating mycotoxins. 

Recently, the results of an in vitro study have demonstrated the efficacy of this product against ergot alkaloid mycotoxins (Ergocristine ERC; Ergosine ERS; Ergotamine, ERT). It is worth noting that the product has also shown positive efficacy results in adsorbing the most prevalent mycotoxins (Zearalenone, Fumonisin B1, Ochratoxin, T2 toxin, and Aflatoxin FB1), validated by Trilogy Lab (United States).

Validation of the efficacy of BIŌNTE® QUIMITŌX® PLUS against ergot alkaloids

Specifically, the assay was conducted in collaboration with the Biotech Agrifood Laboratory at the University of Valencia (Spain) to demonstrate the efficacy of BIŌNTE® QUIMITŌX® PLUS against ergot alkaloid mycotoxins. The study simulated the conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, and its efficacy was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) at pH 3 (simulating stomach conditions) and at pH 7 (simulating the intestine).

BIŌNTE® QUIMITŌX® PLUS, shows its efficacy also against ergot alkaloids mycotoxins

The results showed that BIŌNTE® QUIMITŌX® PLUS has optimal in vitro efficacy throughout the gastrointestinal tract against high concentrations of ergot alkaloid mycotoxins (Ergocristine, Ergosine, and Ergotamine). The in vitro efficacy of BIŌNTE® QUIMITŌX® PLUS is 99.7-100% at pH 3 and pH 7 for ergot alkaloids.

BIŌNTE® QUIMITŌX® PLUS, a complete anty-mycotoxins solution

In summary, BIŌNTE® QUIMITŌX® PLUS achieved very high efficacy against ergot alkaloid mycotoxins. Furthermore, other studies support its  high efficacy against the most prevalent mycotoxins in animal nutrition, with rapid and selective action. All in all, demonstrating it as a powerful product for mitigating the effects of mycotoxins in animal production.