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Contents Introduction Types of mycotoxins in food

Aflatoxins Ochratoxin Citrinin Patulin Zearalenone Trichothecenes Fumonisins Other Mycotoxins

Analysis of mycotoxins
Classical analytical methods Commercial techniques Alternative techniques Conventional methods for identifying mycotoxigenic fungi in plants

Mycotoxin Control Strategies


HACCP Pre-harvest mycotoxin control strategies Mycotoxin control during harvest Good agricultural practices (GAPs) Good manufacturing practices (GMPs) The use of natural products Control of storage fungi with chemical fungistats Physical decontamination of mycotoxins Mycotoxin removal by solvent extraction Chemical decontamination of mycotoxins Biological decontamination of mycotoxins

Bioterrorism

Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of fungi. Due to the widespread distribution of fungi in the environment, mycotoxins are considered to be one of the most important contaminants in foods and feeds. These cause liver damage, kidney damage and immune system damage. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), more than 25% of the worlds agricultural production is contaminated with mycotoxins. Farm animals are more at risk from mycotoxin poisoning than humans owing to the large proportion of the diet that may come from one batch of feed and because they may be fed peelings, screenings, and other external parts where the highest level of toxins can occur. Mycotoxins tend to be very hardy and some of them might not be effected by heating or freezing, hence they are very hazardous for health. The level of contamination of agricultural commodities with fungi and mycotoxins varies with crop cultivar, climate, and agricultural practices. (D.J.Webley et al. Mycotoxins in food: a review of recent analyses) (A. Rahmani et al. Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Mycotoxins )

Types of mycotoxins
Aflatoxins: Aflatoxins are a type of mycotoxin produced by Aspergillus species of fungi, such as A. flavus and A. parasiticus. Aflatoxins are known as animal carcinogens. In humans, the toxicity can be caused by their ingestion. These mycotoxins occur in several chemical forms, designated aflatoxin B1, B2, G1, G2, and M1. Aflatoxin B1 is considered the most toxic of all. In agricultural crops, cereals and legumes are affected by aflatoxins. (http://www.checkformold.com/home/cfm/smartlist_7/type_of_molds) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aflatoxin) (D.J.Webley et al. Mycotoxins in food: a review of recent analyses) (Patricia A.M. et al. Food mycotoxins: an update) Ochratoxin: Ochratoxin is a toxin produced by several Penicillium and Aspergillus species. It was first observed on corn where it was produced by A. ochraceus. Ochratoxins may occur as three chemically related toxic metabolites, i.e., ochratoxins A, B, and C. Ochratoxin is considered to be nephrotoxic, teratogenic, and immunotoxic. Ochratoxin A, the main toxin in this group, is found in wheat, corn, oats, cheese, meat products of animals consuming ochratoxin-contaminated grains and dry foods such as soybeans, nuts, and dried fruit. (Trenk H. et al. Production of Ochratoxins in Different Cereal Products by Aspergillus ochraceus) (Patricia A.M. et al. Food mycotoxins: an update)
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Citrinin: It is a mycotoxin produced by different species of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Monascus. It was originally isolated from Penicillium citrinum. It is known to cause kidney damage in experimented animals. In agriculture crops, Citrinin has mainly been found in rice, wheat, flour, barley, maize, rye, oats, peanuts and fruit and may co-occur in cereals with ochratoxin A. it is degraded by heat and alkali.
(http://services.leatherheadfood.com/mycotoxins/display.asp?factshee tid=14&noback=yes&strFiltera=citrinin)

Patulin: Patulin is a mycotoxin which may occur in fruit juices particularly apple and pear juice as a result of rotting mainly due to the growth of Penicillium expansum. It is produced by several species of Aspergillus and Penicillium. Its production can occur even in cold storage at about 4 degree Celsius. It is heat stable but can be destroyed by chemical treatments. It is very necessary to control fruit quality when it enters processing line as damaged fruits are vulnerable to Penicillium infection. (Patricia A.M. et al. Food mycotoxins: an update) (D.J.Webley et al. Mycotoxins in food: a review of recent analyses) (http://www.schimmel-schimmelpilze.de/patulin.html) Zearalenone: Fusarium graminearum is the main causal agent of the mycotoxin Zearalenone. It is also produced by Gibberella fungus species. They have the potential to disrupt sex steroid hormone functions. This mycotoxin is found almost entirely in grain crops like wheat, barley, oats, sorghum etc. (http://www.extension.iastate.edu/CropNews/2008/1023hurburghrobertsone lmore2.htm) (Patricia A.M. et al. Food mycotoxins: an update) Trichothecenes: Several fungal species of the genus Fusarium and related genera can produce trichothecenes in agricultural crops and commodities. The severity of trichothecene contamination increases with wet weather at harvest of cereal grains and with storage under conditions of relatively high moisture. Trichothecenes also cause Fusarium head blight (FHB) of cereals. Contaminated grains can be diverted to nonfood uses such as fuel ethanol production, or their toxicity can be reduced by dilution with clean grain. In animals the infection can cause anemia and immune suppression, hemorrhage, and feed refusal in cattle and poultry.

(Anne E. Trichothecene Biosynthesis in Fusarium Species: Chemistry, Genetics, and Significance)


(http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/147)

Fumonisins: Fumonisins are mycotoxins produced by a variety of fungi of the Fusarium genus. These toxins are natural contaminants of cereal grains worldwide and are mostly found in corn and products derived from corn. Fusarium verticillioides and F. proliferatum is the major specie producing these mycotoxins. fumonisins cause a number of different diseases including neurotoxicity, liver and kidney toxicity and carcinogenicity, immunosuppression, and others. (L. Jackson and J. Jablonski Fumonisins in Mycotoxins in food Detection and control Edited by N. Magan and M. Olsen) Other Mycotoxins: There are many other important mycotoxins from food sources which are: Alternaria toxins: Alternariol and related metabolites, Altertoxins, Tenuazonic acid Fusarium toxins: Moniliformin, Fusaproliferin, Beauvericin, Sambutoxin, Fusarochromanone, Equisetin, Fusaric acid, Fusariocins Wortmannin, Apicidin,

Aspergillus toxins: Sterigmatocystin, Cyclopiazonic acid, Flavoglaucin, Echinulin, Gliotoxin Penicillium toxins: Penicillic acid, PR toxin, Penitrem A, Citreoviridin, Secalonic acid

Analysis of Mycotoxins in Food


Many methods are used for the analysis of mycotoxins in food. Some of the methods are described as follows: Classical analytical methods: Classical analytical methods for mycotoxins include chromatography. Chromatography analysis is based on distribution or partition of a sample solute between 2 phases: stationary phase and mobile phase. Most common chromatography techniques used today in the field of food analysis are Thin-layer chromatography (TLC), Liquid chromatography, gas chromatography (GC), High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC). These methods, when connected to another instrument such as mass spectrometer, work as a separation method. Coupling of LC and MS, HPLC with MS and GC MS technique provides a great opportunity for the analysis of mycotoxins. Commercial techniques: Commercial techniques for mycotoxins are divided broadly into immunoaffinity (IAC) column-based analysis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) Alternative techniques: Alternative techniques for mycotoxin electrophoresis (CE) with fluorescence detection

analysis

include Biosensors, Capillary

Conventional methods for identifying mycotoxigenic fungi in plants: Conventional methods for the identification of species in plant tissues generally involve isolation of the fungus, or fungi, into axenic culture. Using immunological and nucleic acid hybridization assays to detect mycotoxigenic fungi Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assays for detecting mycotoxigenic fungi Using mycotoxin biosynthetic gene clustering for identifying mycotoxins (P. Patel Mycotoxin analysis: current and emerging technologies in Mycotoxins in food Detection and control Edited by N. Magan and M. Olsen) (P. Nicholson Rapid detection of mycotoxigenic fungi in plants in Mycotoxins in food Detection and control Edited by N. Magan and M. Olsen)

Mycotoxin Control Strategies


HACCP HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) is a food management system designed to prevent safety problems, including food poisoning. HACCP takes a proactive approach to hazard control, an approach of prevention is better than cure. 1. Pre-harvest mycotoxin control strategies: Field preparation and management Deep plowing Crop rotation Use of fertilizers Weed control Crop management Control measures relevant to the crop are listed below. The use of disease resistant cultivars Appropriate irrigation methods The use of biological control agents (BCAs) The use of fungicides 2. Mycotoxin control during harvest Harvesting at proper time and dry conditions Visual examination of the grain for symptoms of disease Segregation of diseased batches from healthy grain. 3. Post-harvest management of grain The milling process should be done at proper time and moisture content of grain. Storage and processing should be well managed to avoid fungus infestation.

4. Good agricultural practices (GAPs) Good Agricultural Practices are a collection of principles to apply for on-farm production and post-production processes, resulting in safe and healthy food and non-food agricultural products, while taking into account economical, social and environmental sustainability. (FAO) 5. Good manufacturing practices (GMPs) GMP is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards appropriate to their intended use and as required by the product specification. (http://www.who.int/bloodproducts/gmp/en/) 6. The use of natural products Constituents of numerous plants have been found to exhibit anti-fungal activity against storage fungi. Such plants include oregano, clove, cinnamon, garlic and thyme. 7. Control of storage fungi with chemical fungistats Fungistatic agents, mostly low-molecular-weight organic acids (e.g. propionic, acetic and formic acids) and their salts have been used to preserve grains and animal feeds. 8. Physical decontamination of mycotoxins Physical decontamination of mycotoxins can be done by heating, absorption and irradiation. 9. Mycotoxin removal by solvent extraction Mycotoxin removal can also be done by solvent extraction method. 10. Chemical decontamination of mycotoxins Numerous chemicals have the ability to detoxify mycotoxins; they include alkalis, acids, oxidizing agents, chlorinating agents, and reducing agents. 11. Biological decontamination of mycotoxins Micro-organism detoxification can be performed in many different ways: The entire organism can be used as a starter culture, as in the fermentation of beer, wine and cider, or in lactic acid fermentation of vegetables, milk and meat. The purified enzyme can be used in soluble or immobilized (biofilter) forms. The gene encoding the enzymatic activity can be transferred and over expressed in a heterologous system; interesting candidates for this application include yeasts, probiotics and plants. (D. Aldred and N. Magan, The use of HACCP in the control of mycotoxins: the case of cereals in Mycotoxins in food: Detection and control Edited by N. Magan and M. Olsen) (R. Shapira Control of mycotoxins in storage and techniques for their decontamination in Mycotoxins in food: Detection and control Edited by N. Magan and M. Olsen)

Bioterrorism
Because a number of mycotoxins, which may be lethal in relatively low doses, may be cultured and grown on a wide variety of grains, the possibility of deliberate mycotoxin contamination of commodities and/or foods should be recognized by the food industry when developing defense plans. Crisis plans should be in place to deal with possible biological and chemical terrorism incidents. (Patricia A.M. et al. Food mycotoxins: an update)

References D.J.Webley et al. Mycotoxins in food: a review of recent analyses


Rahmani, Jinap.S, Soleimany.F (2009) Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Mycotoxins. Comprehensive reviews in food science and safety. Vol.8, 2009 Patricia A.Murphy, Suzanne Hendrich, Cindy Landgren, and Cory M. Bryant, Editor (2006) Food Mycotoxins: An Update. Journal of food science vol. 71, nr. 5, 2006 P. Patel Mycotoxin analysis: current and emerging technologies in Mycotoxins in food: Detection and control Edited by N. Magan and M. Olsen (2004) Woodhead Publishing Limited. P. Nicholson Rapid detection of mycotoxigenic fungi in plants in Mycotoxins in food: Detection and control Edited by N. Magan and M. Olsen (2004) Woodhead Publishing Limited. D. Aldred and N. Magan, The use of HACCP in the control of mycotoxins: the case of cereals in Mycotoxins in food: Detection and control Edited by N. Magan and M. Olsen (2004) Woodhead Publishing Limited. R. Shapira Control of mycotoxins in storage and techniques for their decontamination in Mycotoxins in food: Detection and control Edited by N. Magan and M. Olsen (2004) Woodhead Publishing Limited. http://www.who.int/bloodproducts/gmp/en/ http://www.schimmel-schimmelpilze.de/patulin.html http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/147 http://www.checkformold.com/home/cfm/smartlist_7/type_of_molds http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aflatoxin