Submitted to: Food Additives & Contaminants
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/31/2022
Publication Date: 8/23/2022
Citation: Maragos, C.M., Probyn, C., Proctor, R.H., Sieve, K.K. 2022. Cyclopiazonic acid in soft-ripened and blue cheeses marketed in the USA. Food Additives & Contaminants: Part B. https://doi.org/10.1080/19393210.2022.2109213.
Interpretive Summary: Fungi from the genus Penicillium are used in the ripening of two popular types of cheese: soft-ripened cheeses (Brie, Camembert, etc.) and blue-veined cheeses (Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola, DanaBlu, etc.). However, certain strains of these fungi produce toxins (mycotoxins). One such mycotoxin, a-cyclopiazonic acid (CPA), is a neurotoxin. Data on the levels of CPA in cheeses marketed in the USA are extremely limited. An antibody-based assay (ELISA) was adapted for measuring CPA in 254 samples of soft-ripened and blue-veined cheeses. CPA was detected in 46% of soft-ripened cheeses and in 24% of blue-veined cheeses, generally at low levels, however higher levels were occasionally found. The impact of such levels upon consumers is likely low, but the true implication of such exposures is unknown, as a consensus for acceptable intake remains to be established.
Technical Abstract: Strains of Penicillium camemberti and P. roqueforti are used in the production of soft-ripened and blue-veined cheeses. However, some strains can produce toxic secondary metabolites (mycotoxins), including a-cyclopiazonic acid (CPA), a neurotoxin. Data on the levels of CPA in cheeses marketed in the USA are extremely limited. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was adapted for measuring CPA in soft-ripened and blue-veined cheeses. Recoveries from cheese curds were 103'±'27% (n'='30). A total of 254 samples of soft-ripened, blue and miscellaneous cheeses were examined. CPA was detected in 36/79 (45.6%) of soft-ripened cheeses and in 41/168 (24.4%) of blue-veined cheeses. Median levels in positive samples were 48.5'µg/kg and 30'µg/kg, respectively. The highest levels found were 3,820'µg/kg (in a Brie), 1,250'µg/kg (in a blue) and 7,900'µg/kg (in a Monte Enebro). The implication of such exposures is unknown, as a consensus on acceptable intake remains to be established.