Microbiological contamination of feed – current hazards and new challenges
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Feed microflora remains a very complex and still largely uncharacterized ecosystem. Given the wide range of potential sources of microbial contamination that may come into contact with feed, a variety of microorganisms, including pathogenic ones, can be expected. Microbiological contamination of feeds depends on environmental factors, which are a natural, primary source related to the microflora carried on feed materials and coming from soil, water and air. Microbial contamination may also emerge secondarily in the processing and distribution stages of feed, but also in the breeding stage, where feed may be contaminated by animals showing disease symptoms or asymptomatically. A wide variety of pathogenic microorganisms that are transmitted symptomatically or asymptomatically can cause economic losses to feed producers and farmers, and some of them due to their zoonotic nature can also pose a potential risk to consumers. New feed materials appear on the market, i.e. Insect Processed Animal Proteins, which are part of the strategy of replacing traditional protein sources. These materials are under investigation for their benefits as well as for microbiological safety. The aim of this review was to present the current knowledge on the main microbiological risk factors influencing the quality and safety of feed, as well as new analytical challenges related to the introduction of new feed materials.
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