Aflatoxin contamination in corn sold for wildlife feed in texas

Nicholas R. Dunham, Steven T. Peper, Carson D. Downing, Ronald J. Kendall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Supplemental feeding with corn to attract and manage deer is a common practice throughout Texas. Other species, including northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus), are commonly seen feeding around supplemental deer feeders. In many cases, supplemental feeding continues year-round so feed supply stores always have supplemental corn in stock. Fluctuating weather and improper storage of corn can lead to and/or amplify aflatoxin contamination. Due to the recent decline of bobwhites throughout the Rolling Plains ecoregion of Texas, there has been interest in finding factors such as toxins that could be linked to their decline. In this study, we purchased and sampled supplemental corn from 19 locations throughout this ecoregion to determine if aflatoxin contamination was present in individual bags prior to being dispersed to wildlife. Of the 57 bags sampled, 33 bags (approximately 58%) contained aflatoxin with a bag range between 0.0–19.91 parts per billion (ppb). Additionally, three metal and three polypropylene supplemental feeders were each filled with 45.4 kg of triple cleaned corn and placed in an open field to study long-term aflatoxin buildup. Feeders were sampled every 3 months from November 2013–November 2014. Average concentration of aflatoxin over the year was 4.08 ± 2.53 ppb (±SE) in metal feeders, and 1.43 ± 0.89 ppb (±SE) in polypropylene feeders. The concentration of aflatoxins is not affected by the type of feeder (metal vs polypropylene), the season corn was sampled, and the location in the feeder (top, middle, bottom) where corn is sampled. It is unlikely that corn used in supplemental feeders is contributing to the bobwhite decline due to the low levels of aflatoxin found in purchased corn and long-term storage of corn used in supplemental feeders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-520
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Aflatoxin
  • Aspergillus spp
  • Corn
  • Rolling Plains
  • Supplemental Feeder
  • Texas


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