Effect of species, fertilization and harvest date on microbial composition and mycotoxin content in forage
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The aim of the project was to evaluate the potential of microbial threat to feed safety in the year 2018. Analyses of the epiphytic community of several forage species (clovers, cocksfoot, fescue, festulolium, perennial ryegrass, timothy and trefoil) in variants of fertilized and non-fertilized vegetation were performed. The hypothesis is based on the fact that microorganisms are normally present on plant material during its growth all the way from the seed to the senescence; they are influenced by a plant's fitness, and they affect its harvest and utilization. Microflora was analyzed by cultivation on specific substrates, total microbial count and five specific microbial groups were observed and quantified. Forage species did not affect plant microflora. The highest risk factor of microbial contamination of feed was proved to be harvest date. Mycotoxin contamination of fresh feed was determined (deoxynivalenol and zearalenone) using ELISA. Zearalenone (ZEA) levels were negatively correlated to fertilization intensity, although these results were not statistically significant. Deoxynivalenol (DON) levels were the lowest in a moderate fertilization regime. Significant differences in mycotoxin content were found among botanical species.