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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Molecular Biology of Human Pathogens Associated with Food

Location: Produce Safety and Microbiology Research

Title: Review of the inhibition of biological activities of selected food-related toxins by natural compounds

Authors
item Friedman, Mendel
item Rasooly, Reuven

Submitted to: Toxins
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2013
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Citation: Friedman, M., Rasooly, R. 2013. Review of the inhibition of biological activities of selected food-related toxins by natural compounds. Toxins. 5:743-775. doi: 10.3390/toxins50x100x.

Interpretive Summary: There is a need to develop food-compatible conditions to alter the structures of fungal, bacterial, and plant toxins, thus transforming toxins to nontoxic molecules. The term ‘chemical genetics’ has been used to describe this approach. This overview attempts to survey and consolidate the widely scattered literature on the inhibition by natural plant compounds and plant extracts of the biological(toxicological)activity of the following food-related toxins: aflatoxin B1, fumonisins, and ochratoxin produced by fungi; cholera toxin produced by Vibrio cholerae bacteria, Shiga toxins produced by E. coli bacteria; staphylococcal enterotoxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria; and ricin produced by seeds of the castor plant Ricinus communis. The reduction of biological activity has been achieved by one or more of the following approaches: inhibition of release of the toxin into the environment, especially food; an alteration of the structural integrity of the toxin molecules; changes in the optimum microenvironment, especially pH, for toxin activity; and protection against adverse effects of the toxins in cells, animals, and humans (chemoprevention). The results show that food-compatible and safe compounds with anti-toxin properties can be used to reduce the toxic potential of these toxins. Research needs are suggested that may further facilitate reducing the toxic burden of the diet. Researchers are challenged to (a) apply the available methods without adversely affecting the nutritional quality, safety, and sensory attributes of animal feed and human food;and(b)educate food producers and processors and the public about available approaches to mitigating undesirable effects of natural toxins that may present in the diet.

Technical Abstract: There is a need to develop food-compatible conditions to alter the structures of fungal, bacterial, and plant toxins, thus transforming toxins to nontoxic molecules. The term ‘chemical genetics’ has been used to describe this approach. This overview attempts to survey and consolidate the widely scattered literature on the inhibition by natural plant compounds and plant extracts of the biological(toxicological)activity of the following food-related toxins: aflatoxin B1, fumonisins, and ochratoxin produced by fungi; cholera toxin produced by Vibrio cholerae bacteria, Shiga toxins produced by E. coli bacteria; staphylococcal enterotoxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria; and ricin produced by seeds of the castor plant Ricinus communis. The reduction of biological activity has been achieved by one or more of the following approaches: inhibition of release of the toxin into the environment, especially food; an alteration of the structural integrity of the toxin molecules; changes in the optimum microenvironment, especially pH, for toxin activity; and protection against adverse effects of the toxins in cells, animals, and humans(chemoprevention). The results show that food-compatible and safe compounds with anti-toxin properties can be used to reduce the toxic potential of these toxins. Research needs are suggested that may further facilitate reducing the toxic burden of the diet. Researchers are challenged to(a)apply the available methods without adversely affecting the nutritional quality, safety, and sensory attributes of animal feed and human food; and(b)educate food producers and processors and the public about available approaches to mitigating undesirable effects of natural toxins that may be present in the diet.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014
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