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Ochratoxin and Citrinin

(585) Other aspergillus species, Aspergillus ochraceous and Penicillium viridicatum, produce toxins called ochratoxin and citrinin. . These species are ubiquitous in Northern climates and are found in oats, barley, wheat and maize. Levels of toxin of more than 1ppm in the diet cause mild clinical signs particularly if spread over long periods of time. If the levels of intake exceed 1mg/kg mortality may occur.

Clinical signs

The main signs include reduced growth and feed efficiency. Liver damage occurs but the main effect is on the kidneys resulting in increased water intake.

In young growing pigs oedema (fluid between the tissues) may occur with generalised stiffness. In acute poisoning mortality can be high. Gastric ulceration is also a consistent finding and in herds with high levels, the possibility of these toxins being present in feed should be considered.


The clinical signs and post mortem findings are indicative of ochratoxin and citrinin poisoning and this may be confirmed by identifying the toxins in the feed or in kidney tissue at slaughter. The toxins can also be identified in serum.


  • There is no specific antidote.
  • Remove the suspected sources.
  • Increase the vitamin levels in feed.
  • Recovery is slow.

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