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The Introduction To Mycotoxins

The Introduction To Mycotoxins


The Introduction To Mycotoxins

The Introduction To Mycotoxins

Introduction To Mycotoxins

Health Beyond Wealth

Mycotoxins are venomous (toxic) secondary metabolites produced by many filamentous fungi belonging to the

phylum Ascomycota. It can also be defined  as “natural products produced by fungi that evoke a poisonous response

when introduced in low concentration to higher vertebrates and other animals by a natural route.” Some mycotoxins

can have additional effects such as phytotoxicity or antimicrobial activity.

Generally, mycotoxins exclude substances

such as “mushroom and yeast poisons”. The major fungi causing frequent and problematic contamination of foods

and feeds with mycotoxins are members of the fungal genera Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Penicillium While

Aspergillus and Penicillium species frequently grow on foods and feed under storage conditions, Fusarium species

often infect growing crops such as wheat, barley, and corn in the field and propagate in the plant. Presently, over 300

mycotoxins have been identified and reported; however, only a few regularly contaminate food and animal

feedstuffs. These are aflatoxins (AF), ochratoxins (OT), fumonisins, patulin, zearalenone (ZEA), and trichothecenes

including deoxynivalenol (DON) and T-2 toxin. (Moretti et al,2017). 

The Introduction To Mycotoxins

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Mycotoxin contamination of food is an ongoing global concern. Mycotoxin contamination is considered an

inescapable and unpredictable problem, even where good agricultural, storage, and processing practices are

implemented, posing a difficult challenge to food safety. Additionally, many mycotoxins are not easily abolished

during food processing because of their stability against heat, physical, and chemical treatments. Furthermore, feed

contamination can also pose an extra hazard for food safety due to the possible carry-over of mycotoxins to animals-

derived products such as milk, meat, and egg, leading to mycotoxin intake by humans. Many strategies have been

proposed for controlling the mycotoxin occurrence in different food commodities; however, no clear-cut solutions


Mycotoxins threaten human and animal health, hamper international trading, waste foods, and feed, and divert

resources towards the examination, enforcement, regulation, and applications to alleviate mycotoxin problems.

Unfortunately, about 25% of the world’s harvested crops are contaminated by mycotoxins each year, leading to huge

agricultural and industrial losses in the billions of dollars. Among the mycotoxins, aflatoxins (AFs) are considered

the most toxic, with an important economic burden to agriculture. In the United States (US) and European Union

(EU) countries, AFs are primarily an economic concern, whereas, in the developing countries of Asia and Africa, AFs

contribute to hundreds of hepatocellular carcinoma cases each year. Importantly, the estimated annual losses to the

US corn industry due to aflatoxin contamination range from US $52.1 million to the US $1.68 billion. Additionally,

mycotoxins are the main hazard cited in EU border rejection notifications according to Rapid Alert System for Food

The Introduction To Mycotoxins

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and Feed (RASFF), with AFs the specific mycotoxins most commonly associated with the notifications. Since the

initial discovery of mycotoxins, many methods have been validated and used for the analysis of mycotoxins in food

and feed such as thin-layer chromatography (TLC); high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with

FLD, UV, DAD, or MS detection; gas chromatography (GC) coupled with ECD, FID, or MS detection; Ultra

Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC); enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); and rapid strip

screening tests. Although tremendous progress has been made in this area, there are still major challenges and

drawbacks to these analytical methods that need to be addressed. Analytical challenges include difficulties in

detecting low-level mycotoxin contamination, complex food matrices in which the mycotoxin contamination occurs

necessitating complicated extraction processes, the great diversity of mycotoxin chemical structures, and the co-

occurrence of mycotoxins. To tackle these challenges, continuous improvements in the analytical methodology for

mycotoxin analysis in a variety of food Symptoms, Causes Of Blood Infection, And Treatment are needed to support

the enforcement of mycotoxin regulations, protect consumers’ health, support the agriculture industry, and facilitate

international food trade. This review summarizes the key mycotoxins commonly contaminating foodstuffs, their

toxicity, and the key methods used for their detection and analysis in a variety of foods. (Novartis et al;2001).

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