Naturally occurring contaminants (mycotoxins)
Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by fungi that contaminate food. They can contaminate the crop while it is growing or cause contamination at later stages - such as during storage.
Mycotoxins are known to be toxic to humans and animals, causing various negative health risks.
Mycotoxins and health risk
The toxicities and adverse health effects of common mycotoxins are:
Liver toxicity, liver cancer, growth impairment, immune suppression
Cytotoxic, liver toxicity, kidney toxicity, immune suppression, oesophageal cancer, neural tube defect
Liver toxicity, reproductive toxicity, growth inhibition, immune suppression, leukopenia
Estrogenic effect, growth performance reduction
- Ochratoxin A
Kidney toxicity, kidney cancer, neurotoxicity, growth inhibition, immune suppression
Mycotoxins can be found in:
- Bread (Deoxynivalenol, Zearalenone and Ochratoxin A)
- Oats (HT2 and T2)
- Dried fruits and cereals (Ochratoxin A)
- Nuts (Aflatoxins)
- Barley, oats, wheat, rice, sorghum and soy beans (Zearalenone)
- Apple juice (Pantulin, Ochratoxin A)
- Cornflakes (Fumonisins, Zearalenone, Deoxynivalenol)
Some questions for you to consider:
- Were you aware of mycotoxins prior to completion of this course?
- Did you associate such contaminants with the different types of foods highlighted above?
- Can you suggest other foods at risk from mycotoxin-related contamination?
Please share your thoughts to any (or all) of these questions in the discussion area below.