Tool of the Month: Mycotoxin Tester

Name: Mycotoxin tester

Cost: Contact the manufacturer for price information

Available at

Intended use

A Mycotoxin tester device is used to detect and quantify specific mycotoxins in feed samples. Mycotoxins, generated by fungi, can cause illness in both humans and animals. This underscores the significance of testing for these substances in crops, feeds, and food products, a necessity to manage flock health and wellbeing. Conducting tests in proximity to storage, transport, or production sites provides quality managers with the opportunity for swift responses. The utilization of rapid testing methods further accelerates the process, with results often attainable in less than 10 minutes for on-site tests. Lateral flow strip tests, an approved method by USDA-FGIS, offer a convenient field-based testing option. These tests are suitable for assessing raw materials in grain elevators, food processing facilities, and export/official inspection sites. Lateral flow strip tests can detect a variety of mycotoxins including aflatoxin, fumonisin, vomitoxin (DON), zearalenone, ochratoxin A, and the combination of T-2 and HT-2 toxins in completed feed. 

Standard levels of aflatoxin in livestock feed

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has published the proposed maximum contaminant levels of mycotoxins in feeds that can be found here. It is proposed to maintain the 20 ppb (parts per billion) aflatoxins level in single-ingredient feeds and complete feed for Canada. This level is safe for livestock throughout their lifecycle, humans from possible harmful aflatoxins in food products, and the environment from contamination. Aflatoxins have not been identified in crops cultivated in Canada. Instances of contaminated products imported into the country typically involve single ingredients, mainly corn products, where the specific livestock species is unknown. These maximum levels are substantiated by existing scientific literature covering animal rearing practices, animal toxicity data, animal physiology and productivity, food safety, and monitoring data for aflatoxins in Canada.

How does it work?

The device employs VICAM’s monoclonal antibodies and provides comprehensive quantitative results for major mycotoxins in animal feed. The reader is easy to use with a touch screen, has built-in data storage and transfer capabilities, optional printing, and doesn’t need special training for testing in various environments like fields or laboratories.

Feed sampling procedure

Mycotoxins are often found sporadically in large grain loads, making detection possible in only a small percentage of kernels. The uneven distribution of contaminated kernels can lead to significant variations in test results across samples. To address this issue, it is crucial to collect a representative sample from the lot by using a probing pattern from top to bottom. For more information on collecting representative samples refer to our previous article. The collected samples should be ground, well-mixed, and a subsample taken for testing, ensuring that 95% passes through a 20-mesh sieve.

Using the device

The procedure outlined below details the utilization of Vertu™ TOUCH Procedure for Grain kit, designed to assess aflatoxin mycotoxin levels in corn, sorghum, soy, and wheat. It is essential to note that distinct kits are available for measuring various types of mycotoxins and feed ingredients/complete feed. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines corresponding to each specific kit for accurate instructions.

1. To calibrate the Vertu TOUCH reader: Scan the Afla-V (A) or Afla-V (B) barcode for the lot number of strips being used. Please note that barcode A range is from 0 to 40 ppb with a limit of detection of 2 ppb. Barcode B has a range from 0 to 300 ppb with a limit of detection of 10 ppb. The barcode remains stored in Vertu TOUCH reader for future use until expiry.

2. Weigh 5 g ± 0.1 g finely ground sample into Vertu PREP tube. Add 25 mL of AQUA Premix to Vertu PREP tube. Close the lid, shake briefly to suspend all of the sample into the liquid.

3. Set Vertu PREP mixer timer for 30 seconds. Push down and twist to lock in place; the mixer will start and stop automatically. Filter the extract into a V-Filter with cup for no more than 5 minutes.

4. In this step depending on the mycotoxin levels in your sample, you can use either barcode A (range of detection: 0 – 40 ppb) or barcode B (range of detection: 0 – 300 ppb).

a. When using barcode A, transfer 100 μL of filtered extract to the Afla-V strip by dropping (~1 drop/second) vertically into the sample well. Start the timer and allow the strip to develop for 5 minutes on a flat surface.

b. When using barcode B, first pipette 700 μL of AQUA premix and 100 μL of filtered extract into a strip test vial. Then close the top and mix by shaking 3 times. After that, transfer 100 μL of diluted extract to the Afla-V strip by dropping (~1 drop/second) vertically into the sample well. Start the timer and allow the strip to develop for 5 minutes on a flat surface.

5. While the strip test develops, enter the sample ID into Vertu TOUCH reader.
6. Fully insert the Afla-V strip into the Vertu TOUCH (the round opening in first). Press the [Start measurement] key on the touch screen after exactly 5 minutes of incubation.

7. The result will appear on the screen as shown in the following picture. Press [Print] to print the result. Compare the results with the standards published by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).


  1. Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) (link)
  2. (credit to the pictures featured in the article)

About the author(s)

Research Associate at Poultry Innovation Partnership | + posts