ELISA Screening Detects Fumonisin in Corn
Travis Mays, Analytical Chemistry Section Head
A 3-year-old, male Quarter horse became ataxic and kept falling over, eventually being unable to rise. The horse ultimately had to be euthanized. The onset and severity of clinical signs occurred over a two-hour period. Serum was submitted to the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) for an Equine Encephalitis Panel and corn and feed were also submitted for fumonisin testing.
Results for Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis and West Nile Virus in serum were negative by ELISA. Corn and feed samples were screened by ELISA and one sample consisting of mixed grains and coarse ground corn tested positive for fumonisin at a concentration of 274 ppm. Diets containing greater than 5 ppm have been associated with Equine Leukoencephalomalacia (ELEM). High concentrations of fumonisin are usually associated with corn screenings or with corn waste that includes a lot of cob material. Corn contamination can occur at high levels when certain environmental conditions coincide with certain stages of the corn’s kernel production. The Fusarium mold that produces fumonisin grows at the base of the kernels against the cob, and it produces a reddish-pink pigment.
TVMDL recommends clients who are interested in testing for fumonisin contact one of our four veterinary diagnosticians for consultation. For additional information about TVMDL’s test offerings, visit tvmdl.tamu.edu or call 1.888.646.5623. To learn more about this case, contact Analytical Chemistry Section Head Travis Mays.