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Biomin Hosts 1st National Mycotoxin Symposium

by 5m Editor
9 August 2011, at 10:31am

SRI LANKA - The first National Mycotoxin Symposium recently took place in Sri Lanka on 2 June 2011.

The Symposium was organised by the Department of Animal Production and Health, at the Institute of Continuing Education in Gannoruwa. The half-day event attracted more than 125 delegates, representing key personnel from the livestock production, veterinarians, consultants, research scientists and the regulatory authorities of Sri Lanka.

Invited by the Department of Animal Production and Health to be the main hosts of the event was a great honour for Biomin and Romer Laboratories. Coordinating the Symposium was JK Tradelink Pte Ltd, the exclusive distribution partner of Biomin and Romer in Sri Lanka.

The Symposium opened with a welcome address by the Department of Animal Production and Health, followed by recital of the National Anthem. The technical sessions then started with Dr Guan Shu, Technical Manager of Mycotoxin Management from Biomin Singapore, giving an introduction to mycotoxins. This set the scene for rest of the morning, where local specialists from Sri Lanka delivered multiple technical presentations. Dr Paba Palihawadane, Chief Epidemiologist from the Ministry of Health presented an overview on the effects of mycotoxins on public health. Dr Swarna Wimalasari of the Faculty of Agriculture at University of Peradeniya then elaborated on aflatoxin residues in milk in Sri Lanka, which revealed the impact of mycotoxin challenge on the Sri Lankan dairy sector by showing examples of trials conducted locally. Following that, Dr Priyankarage addressed the status of mycotoxins in animal feed in Sri Lanka and explained the association to high levels of aflatoxin found in local maize.

The mid-morning tea break followed, allowing high-level social interaction between the delegates and significant information exchange. The second session of the morning then heard presentations from Romer Laboratories and Biomin Asia. Dr Guan outlined the general mycotoxin risk present in human food and highlighted that certain regulatory requirements, which are relevant to livestock production, are also important for food production. This followed well from the earlier presentation on the presence of aflatoxin in milk. Dr Guan then continued with a presentation on behalf of Romer Laboratories, discussing sampling techniques and analytical methodology for mycotoxins, which covered rapid on-site detection methods as well as more the complex HPLC and GCMS technology. He pointed out that sampling is a crucial phase for accurate determination of the mycotoxin challenge to the industry.

The technical sessions of the Symposium concluded with a review of the global mycotoxin survey of 2010, which is an annual survey conducted by Biomin. Edward Manchester, Regional Director of Biomin Asia shared the data specific to South and South-East Asia. It included more than 11,000 analyses and clearly indicates that mycotoxin challenge is no longer restricted only to aflatoxin but the presence of multiple mycotoxins in raw materials and feeds exacerbates the problems encountered in livestock production. Mr Manchester went on to discuss an overview of strategies for effective mycotoxin risk management, stressing the need for a multi-facetted approach to mycotoxin control in today's feed and livestock industry that is slowly changing its mind-set from being cost-sensitive to more quality-sensitive.

A panel discussion organised at the end of the presentation session gave an opportunity for the delegates to interact with the speakers and created a very lively atmosphere.

Mr Manchester said: "Through interaction with the delegates, it is clear that the technical competence and understanding of the mycotoxin challenge in Sri Lanka is high. This is reassuring, since it already shows that the market is open to address these challenges and counteract the negative issues associated with mycotoxin contamination. To have the opportunity to co-host this 1st National Symposium in collaboration with the Department of Animal Production and Health is a great honour for Biomin."

Dr Bhagya Egodage, Sales Manager of JK Tradelink Pte Ltd, said: "This National Symposium represents a major first step for the Sri Lankan livestock industry and associated stakeholders to come together and really address the issues directly affecting our industry. Allowing information exchange from experts to the delegates and sharing the latest technological advances will ultimately ensure our livestock industry continues to grow in a more efficient and sustainable manner."