February 11, 2014 |

Randox Food Diagnostics Launch Test for Ergot Alkaloids

Contaminated feed can affect the reproductive cycles of pigs, poultry and cattle

Randox Food Diagnostics is breaking into a new market announcing the release of its first mycotoxins screening product. The UK-headquartered company already has an extensive range of drug residue screening solutions both on traditional ELISA and its ground-breaking BioChip multiplexing platforms, supplying some of the world’s largest processors.

With a myriad of mycotoxins posing risk to consumers, Randox Food Diagnostics selected a niche product for market entry. Ergot alkaloids were the first mycotoxins which came to prominence, with incidences recorded as far back as the 800s AD. In modern times outbreaks in human populations are isolated, with the last major incident recorded in Ethiopia in 2001.

Nowadays the focus is more on animal health, testing grains used in feed production. Ergot alkaloids are produced by fungi of all species of the Claviceps genus, which parasitise the seed heads of living plants at the time of flowering. The fungus replaces the developing grain or seed with the alkaloid wintering body, known as ergot, ergot body or sclerotium. The sclerotia are harvested together with the cereals or grass, and if not removed before processing, can lead to contamination of cereal-based food and feed products.

Contaminated feed with toxic levels of ergot alkaloids has been found to affect the reproductive cycles of pigs, poultry and cattle, causing animals to terminate pregnancies. They also have been shown to impact upon digestive systems, resulting in poor weight-gain for meat production.

Unveiling the move, Randox Food Diagnostics Global Business Manager David Ferguson said,

“With one of the most comprehensive drug residue testing menus on the market, our research and development process is geared strongly towards new products. Although testing for mycotoxins is a new market, the underpinning immunoassay science for drug residue screening is the same. Therefore, with our experience, we are absolutely confident we have a product equal to the quality of our meat, honey and dairy screening tests.

“Randox Food Diagnostics recognise the particular need within the mycotoxins sector to test for a wide range of analytes, so we see major scope for the efficiencies offered by our world-leading multiplexing capability. Developed through a decade of research and an investment of £200m, our own BioChip Array Technology can detect up to 23 different analytes from a single sample, adding huge potential for savings via time and cost. Our high quality ELISA products are currently on the market and we have now released the Ergot Alkaloids on BioChip Array Technology.

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