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Research Project: Defining, Measuring, and Mitigating Attributes that Adversely Impact the Quality and Marketability of Foods

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Title: Infrared spectroscopy detection of fungal infections and mycotoxins for food safety concerns

item Liang, Peishih

Submitted to: Journal of Infectious Diseases and Therapy
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/7/2015
Publication Date: 10/10/2015
Citation: Liang, P. 2015. Infrared spectroscopy detection of fungal infections and mycotoxins for food safety concerns. Journal of Infectious Diseases and Therapy. 3(5):241.

Interpretive Summary: This short review briefly introduces different types of toxins produced by fungi (so-called mycotoxins), the common agricultural commodities that are affected, and the impact of mycotoxins to human health and public safety. The manuscript explains the advantages and shortcomings of current sampling and analysis methods, as well as the recent trend of using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to non-destructively screen for mycotoxins. Lastly, the manuscript lists several successful examples of implementing such techniques, and emphasizes the importance of conducting more future studies.

Technical Abstract: Mycotoxins, which are toxins produced by fungi, can pose great danger to human health with their acute and chronic effects when contaminated foods (grains, fruits, meat, or milk) are ingested. Fungal infections in food crops are extremely common and many developed countries have set standards to monitor and control their imported and exported food products. The analytical methods required to quantify the toxin concentrations are accurate and sensitive but often destructive thus rely on sampling to determine the contamination status. Infrared spectroscopy has gained a lot of attention for its ability to non-destructively provide critical information of samples, which can help reduce the uncertainties inherited from the sampling with destructive methods. Several successful examples in identifying fungal infection from agricultural commodities provide great hope for a faster and more cost-effective screening method to help eliminate the health threats.