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Survey and risk assessment of the mycotoxins deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, and aflatoxins in commercial dry dog food

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The aim of the present study was to investigate the occurrence of mycotoxins in commercial dog food, as a basis to estimate the risk of adverse effects. Seventy-six dry dog food samples from 27 producers were purchased from retail shops, supermarkets, and specialized pet food shops in Vienna, Austria. The frequency and levels of deoxynivalenol (DON), zearalenone (ZEA), fumonisins (FUM), ochratoxin A (OTA). and aflatoxins (AF) in dry dog food were determined. Mycotoxin analysis were performed by commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test kits. Confirmatory analyses were done for DON, ZEA, and FUM by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) after extract clean-up with immunoaffinity columns. The correlations between ELISA and HPLC results for DON and ZEA were acceptable and indicated that ELISA could be a simple, low cost, and sensitive screening tool for mycotoxins detection, contributing to quality and safety of pet food. DON was the mycotoxin most frequently found (83% positives; median 308 µg/kg, maximum 1,390 µg/kg). ZEA (47% positives, median 51 µg/kg and maximum 298 µg/kg) and FUM (42% positives, median 122 µg/kg and maximum 568 µg/kg) were also frequently detected in dog food. OTA was less frequently found (5%, median 3.6 µg/kg, maximum 4.7 µg/kg. AF were not detected (<0.5 µg/kg) in any sample. The results show that dry dog food marketed in Vienna are frequently contaminated with mycotoxins (DON > ZEA > FUM > OTA) in low concentrations, but do not contain AF. The high frequency of Fusarium toxins DON, ZEA, and FUM indicates the need for intensive control measures to prevent mycotoxins in dog foods. The mycotoxin levels found in dry dog food are considered as safe in aspects of acute mycotoxicoses. However, repeated and long-time exposure of dogs to low levels of mycotoxins may pose a health risk.

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We appreciate the sponsoring of Veratox-ELISA kits (Neogen, US) supplied by Noack Austria.

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Correspondence to Josef Böhm.

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Böhm, J., Koinig, L., Razzazi-Fazeli, E. et al. Survey and risk assessment of the mycotoxins deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, and aflatoxins in commercial dry dog food. Mycotox Res 26, 147–153 (2010).

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