Young Scientists Forum explores threats posed by mycotoxins

The event followed the World Mycotoxin Forum in Parma, Italy, and was hosted by Trouw Nutrition, Nutreco’s livestock feed business. Participant feedback will help inform and direct future areas of mycotoxin research.

During the forum, participants explored the health and performance issues caused by mycotoxins. The discussion placed particular emphasis on the socio-economic consequences that mycotoxin contamination inflicts on low-income households. The aflatoxin M1 challenge affecting producers in Africa is a good example of the devastating effects of mycotoxins.

Climate change and mycotoxins

Climate change was also part of the conversation, as weather and temperature conditions can increase the growth of mycotoxigenic fungi and lead to the synthesis of multiple mycotoxins. As participants discussed the complexity of the current mycotoxin environment, it became abundantly clear that management strategies rooted in a single mode of action – such as mycotoxin binding – cannot provide sufficient protection. Integrated approaches based on multiple modes of action, including binding, gut health support, and immune modulation, can provide a more effective approach to management and mitigation efforts.


During an open-mic professional development session, experienced professionals and students discussed postgraduate career paths. Researchers, academics and business representatives shared their career experiences and encouraged students to explore the various career paths and opportunities that continually present themselves to young scientists.

“…young minds always come up with original and innovative ideas…”

Abimbola Oluwakayode, PhD student at Cranfield University in the UK, noted his participation in the first Young Scientists Forum. “One benefit was having the opportunity to learn from more experienced professionals in the industry. The event was a great way to talk about what to do after college and see what research is being done. »

Dr. Swamy Haladi, Global Program Manager Mycotoxin Risk Management at Trouw Nutrition, emphasized the importance of engaging the ideas of students and young professionals. “In every generation, young minds always come up with original and innovative ideas and they understand the challenges and expectations of an ever-changing consumer segment,” Haladi said.

Haladi added that while innovative ideas may initially seem impractical, they often spur questions and research that lead to new solutions. For example, a student from the Young Scientist Forum mentioned the use of traditional ammoniation to control ergot toxin poisoning. Although this method has long been used for aflatoxin control, difficulties in application have prevented its wider use. New developments in application methods may help make this technology practical in the future.

Quoting the famous Henry Ford quote: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Haladi said, “It’s important for industry to engage young scientists to inspire different approaches, bring new innovations and create a better world.”

Melvin B. Baillie