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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #341420

Research Project: Biocontrol Interventions for High-Value Agricultural Commodities

Location: Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research

Title: Mycotoxins

item Hua, Sui Sheng
item Chang, Perng Kuang
item Palumbo, Jeffrey - Jeff

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/7/2016
Publication Date: 1/24/2017
Citation: Hua, S.T., Chang, P., Palumbo, J.D. 2017. Mycotoxins. In: Witczak, A., Sikorski, Z., editors. Toxins and Other Harmful Compounds in Foods. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 153-168.

Interpretive Summary: Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by filamentous fungi that affect many agricultural crops. Over 300 mycotoxins have been identified, of which about 20 have been shown to occur naturally in food at sufficient levels posing food safety concerns. The majority of these toxins are produced by fungi in the genera, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium. The most commonly occurring mycotoxins are aflatoxins (B1, B2, G1, G2, and M1), ochratoxin A (OTA), patulin, citrinin, sterigmatocystin, fumonisins (B1, B2 and B3), zearalenone, T-2 and HT-2 toxins, nivalenol and deoxynivalenol (DON). Among them, aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) which is hepatocarcinogenic, poses greatest threat to human health, Others also present a health threat. The mycotoxins discussed in this chapter are aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, fumonisins, patunin and citrinin. Reducing mycotoxin levels in food is a high priority research. The development of biological control methods based on ecological and environmental parameters will be reviewed.

Technical Abstract: According to FAO, at least 25 percent of the world's food crops are contaminated with mycotoxins, at a time when the production of agricultural commodities is barely sustaining the increasing population. The global volume of such agricultural products as maize, groundnuts, copra, palm nuts and oilseed cake, which are high-risk commodities, is about 100 to 200 million tonnes of which come from the developing countries. The disposal of contaminated products or their diversion to non-human uses is not always practical and could seriously compromise the world food supply. Efforts to reduce and eliminate mycotoxins in human foods and animal feedstuffs are based on two major concerns: (1) the adverse effects of mycotoxin-contaminated crops or feeds on human or animal health and productivity; and (2) potential residues of mycotoxins or toxic metabolites in edible animal food products. Reducing mycotoxin levels in food is a high priority research. Pre-harvest interventions of include production of genetically enhanced resistant crops, development of appropriate agronomic practices, determiniation of optimal stage for harvesting crops, and investigation of novel biocontrol and chemical control methods.