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Mycotoxins and toxigenic fungi in Norwegian pig farming: consequences for animal health and possible intervention strategies

NRC 225332

Project leader
Silvio Uhlig

The Norwegian pig farmers, feed industry and authorities require up-to-date knowledge on the occurrence and importance of mycotoxins and fungi in pork production. The background for this need is the persistent infection of Norwegian grain withFusariumfungi resulting in a high prevalence of mycotoxins, especially of the trichothecene-type. Mycotoxin contamination of feed is of increasing concern for the Norwegian pig producers, who report recurring negative health issues such as reduced feed intake, reduced milk production and aggression among sows as well as an increase in the mortality rate of piglets.

Despite of Norway’s comparable low recommended maximum concentration of deoxynivalenol, the major trichothecene mycotoxin, reports of mycotoxin-related problems in pigs are increasingly common. A holistic approach is thus needed to investigate the impact of mycotoxins and toxigenic fungi on pig health in order to provide the necessary knowledge for interventions. The results obtained in the present project will be state-of-the-art knowledge to reduce the negative impact of these natural substances.

The primary objective of the present knowledge-building project is to elucidate the impact of trichothecenes and other mycotoxins on pig health, welfare and productivity in Norwegian pig farms and provide knowledge for control and intervention strategies. The following secondary objectives will ensure that the primary objective will be accomplished:

  • Investigation of the relationship between different levels of the major trichothecene DON in naturally contaminated feed and signs of disease, as well as effects on late pregnancy, puerperial period and lactation in modern, high-yielding sows
  • Evaluation of the microbe Eub BBSH 797 as a feed additive to reduce the negative effects of trichothecenes inin vivofeeding studies
  • Determination of the uptake and biotransformation of DON in pigs, characterisation of the metabolic products, and their distribution and transmission to the newborn and suckling piglets
  • Assessment of the occurrence and importance of “masked” mycotoxins, especially trichothecenes, in feed
  • Validation of the accuracy of commercial immunological assays commonly used by the Norwegian industry, especially with regard to “masked” mycotoxins
  • Study the occurrence of toxigenic fungi, mycotoxins and endotoxins in pig feed and the pig environment (e.g. bedding and air)


  • Norges VeterinThe Norwegian School of Veterinary Science
  • The National Institute of Occupational Health
  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
  • Animalia
  • Felleskjøpet Feed Development
  • Lantmännen
  • Biomin GmbH

Duration: 01.04.2013 - 31.03.2017


Uhlig Silvio


Skaar Ida

Forsker / seksjonsleder

Bernhoft Aksel

Senior researcher