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Multicellular filamentous fungi grown on the surface and inside of moist food secretes toxins in the form of their secondary metabolites which are commonly called mycotoxins. The presence of mycotoxins in food has been a burning issue and a threat to food security and safety. The global population has sky-rocked continues to be, which has created a challenge of providing quality food to the consumers. Aflatoxins, prevalent in most of the food crops in Nepal as well have posed a risk to national food security. Moreover, the consumption of food products containing mycotoxins is a cause of several health hazards like cancer, gastrointestinal problems, and neuropsychiatric effects. Mycotoxins not only has affected humans but also animals. Prevention, decontamination, and inhibition of absorption of toxins have been done in order to manage and mitigate the effects of mycotoxins. Recent research on mycotoxins is focused on the development of new methods to detect and analyze masked mycotoxins obtained from various sources. This review shows the contribution of mycotoxin in the global food security issue as well as its deleterious effects in human and animal health. Int. J. Appl. Sci. Biotechnol. Vol 7(3): 298-303
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S. Puri et al. (2019) Int. J. Appl. Sci. Biotechnol. Vol 7(3): 298-303
DOI: 10.3126/ijasbt.v7i3.24651
This paper can be downloaded online at & 298
Mycotoxins: A Threat to Food Security and Health
Sushant Puri1*, Shuvam Shingh2, Priya Tiwari1
1Naini Agriculture Institute, SHUATS, Prayagraj- 211007, UP, India.
2Warner College of Dairy Technology, SHUATS, Prayagraj- 211007, UP, India.
Article Information
Received: 29 June 2019
Revised version received: 02 August 2019
Accepted: 05 August 2019
Published: 24 September 2019
Cite this article as:
S. Puri et al. (2019) Int. J. Appl. Sci. Biotechnol. Vol 7(3):
298-303. DOI: 10.3126/ijasbt.v7i3.24651
*Corresponding author
Sushant Puri,
Naini Agriculture Institute, SHUATS, Prayagraj, -
211007, UP, India
Peer reviewed under authority of IJASBT
© 2019 International Journal of Applied Sciences and
This is an open access article & it is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International
Multicellular filamentous fungi grown on the surface and inside of moist food
secretes toxins in the form of their secondary metabolites which are commonly
called mycotoxins. The presence of mycotoxins in food has been a burning
issue and a threat to food security and safety. The global population has
skyrocketed and continues to be, which has created a challenge of providing
quality food to the consumers. Aflatoxins, prevalent in most of the food crops
in Nepal as well have posed a risk to national food security. Moreover, the
consumption of food products containing mycotoxins is a cause of several
health hazards like cancer, gastrointestinal problems, and neuropsychiatric
effects. Mycotoxins not only has affected humans but also animals. Prevention,
decontamination, and inhibition of absorption of toxins have been done to
manage and mitigate the effects of mycotoxins. Recent research on mycotoxins
is focused on the development of new methods to detect and analyse masked
mycotoxins obtained from various sources. This review shows the contribution
of mycotoxin in the global food security issue as well as its deleterious effects
on human and animal health.
Keywords: Aflatoxins; Decontamination; Food Security; Mycotoxins; Neuropsychiatric effects
Mold is a type of multicellular filamentous fungus grown
on the surface and inside of moist food. All grain product
and food products which have a water activity less than 0.8
are susceptible to the fungal infection when a specific
weather pattern occurs during the growing season. The
specified group of fungi is capable of producing toxic
substances known as mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are
secondary metabolites produced by microfungi (molds) that
are capable of causing disease and death in humans and
other animals. (Ismaiel and Papenbrock, 2015). The term
mycotoxin was first used in 1960 to describe the toxin
associated with contaminated peanut in animal feed and loss
of turkey in England (Turnkey-X-disease). The functions of
mycotoxins are still not fully understood, perhaps they
function as an insecticide, they might play a role in fighting
against the plant defence to the fungus in some way to
complete their ecological niche in nature (Richard, 2007).
Unlike the bacterial toxins, the mycotoxins are non-
pretentious and hence are not detectable by the immune
systems of humans and animals. The mycotoxins are
Mini Review
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usually heat-stable and are not destroyed by canning and
similar processes.
The contamination of food with mycotoxins are
unavoidable and unpredictable, which makes it a unique
challenge for food safety (Lopez-Garcia et al. 1999). Food
safety refers to limiting the presence of those hazards,
whether chronic or acute, that may make food detrimental
to the health of the consumer. As per the United Nations
committee on world food security, food security means that
all people, at all-time, have physical, social and economic
access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets food
preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.
The presence of mycotoxins in food makes the food
products unsafe for consumption, which eventually leads to
the post-harvest loss and becomes a threat to food security.
The growth of various fungi in agricultural products leads
to yield reduction and quality deterioration with significant
economic losses (Adeyeye, 2016).
Classification of Mycotoxins
The primary category of fungi which are responsible for the
production of mycotoxins is Aspergillus, Penicillium and
Fusarium, Trichoderma, Trichothecium (Richard, 2007).
Many species of toxigenic molds have been known till date,
but only a few of them, which affects the food crops like
cereals and groundnuts are considered to be significant for
humans (Adeyeye, 2016). The toxigenic fungi are broadly
categorised into two categories, i.e. field fungi (e.g.,
Clostridium, Fusarium, Alternaria species) which gets
access into seed during the development of plant and
storage fungi (Aspergillus, Penicillium etc.). Which grows
during storage. Mycotoxins are not only hard to define, but
they are also challenging to classify (Hendrich, 2017).
Some major types of mycotoxins are:
Aflatoxins (produced by Aspergillus spp) - Aflatoxin B1,
B2, G1, G2, M1 and M2
Ochratoxin - Ochratoxin A, B, and C
Trichothecene (produced by Stachybotrys) - Satratoxin-H,
Vomitoxin, and T-2 mycotoxins
Fumonisins - Fumonisin B1 and B2
Global Food Security and Mycotoxins
The current challenge to feed 7.6 billion people globally
with limited and gradually decreasing cultivable land and
food produce has ultimately pose a risk to food security. The
global population is to be expected to rise to 9 billion by
2040, and with this growth rate, it will hit 11 billion by 2100
(World Population Clock, 2015). Most of this global
population feeds on three major crops and their products,
i.e. Rice, Wheat and Maize. 60% of global energy intake is
contributed by these three crops, which are acknowledged
as the staple food. Unfortunately, Maize and Wheat are
vulnerable to the risk of mycotoxins. Fungi being
cosmopolitan and flourish under the same environmental
conditions where maize and wheat can grow effectively has
affected the quality of products and causing massive
production loss. Annual food loss of 16% is attributed to
microbial diseases out of which fungi alone has contributed
about 80% (David et al. 2013). Aspergillus, Penicillium and
Fusarium, Trichoderma, Trichothecium are some of the
significant fungi groups producing mycotoxins like
Aflatoxins, Fumonisins, Ochratoxins, etc. (Richard, 2007).
FAO estimates that mycotoxins, produced by different
groups of fungi, has affected one-third of global food crops
(Krska et al., 2012). The United States, the largest producer
of corn, reported that 98% of samples were affected by at
least one mycotoxin and 74% of corn contained more than
two mycotoxins (Mycotoxin Survey in US corn, 2019).
These alarming figures imply the amount of food lost due
to contamination by mycotoxins, ultimately leading to a
threat to global food security.
Table 1: Various fungi, their substrate and mycotoxins.
Source: (Bennett and Klich, 2003)
Aspergillus flavus
Aspergillus parasiticus
Aspergillus nomius
Aspergillus ochraceus
Bakey Wheat
Aspergillus carbonerius
Grapes, Wine, Coffee
Fusarium oxysporum
Wheat, Barley, Maize
Fusarium sp.
Wheat, Barley, Maize
Penicillium verrucosum
Wheat, Barley, Maize
Claviceps purpurea
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Nepalese Prospect
Mycotoxin monitoring in Nepal was first started in 1978
when FAO/ UNEP Regional Monitoring of Food
Contaminants Project involved Nepal in which 150/850
food samples collected comprising of mainly Cereals,
Pulses, Oilseeds, and Spices. were found contaminated with
aflatoxin. Among them, Maize and Peanuts were most
susceptible to aflatoxin contamination, during the period
from 1980-1987 (Karki and Sinha, 1992). Maize
production in Nepal is mostly in the hilly region, i.e.
72.85%. (Timsina et al. 2016). Most of the population of
hilly region and Himalayan region have maize as their
staple food; also researches show that aflatoxin
contamination in Maize and Peanuts, as well as their
products, are higher in Nepalese context. Aflatoxins,
produced by Aspergillus flabus, was found to me major
mycotoxin contributor in Nepalese maize and maize
products. More than 19% of maize and 28% of maize
products were contaminated with aflatoxin; most of them
belonged to the regions having high temperature and
humidity (Holcomb and Thompson, 1991). Whereas, in the
hills and mountains, the dominance of Fusarium spp.
(Fusarium oxysporum and F. gibbosum) that produces
toxins like Fumonisins, was found (Karki and Sinha, 1992).
Hence, major maize producing areas of Nepal are at higher
risk of mycotoxin contamination.
To sum up, the higher risk of mycotoxin contamination in
staple food of most population in Nepal would eventually
lead to the food security issue by making the produce
unconsumable, considering its toxic effects on human as
well as animal health.
Recent Studies On Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins have been the centre of interest for many
researchers and scientists since 1961. Since mycotoxins are
one of the major hazards for food security and health,
several studies have been carried out to overcome the
effects of mycotoxins. Many structurally related
compounds that are either generated by plant metabolism or
food processing can coexist together with the native toxins
in the mycotoxin contaminated commodities (Galaverna et
al. 2009). The mycotoxins either extractable conjugated or
non-extractable bound mycotoxins remain present in the
plant tissues and can easily escape the routine analysis and
hence called as the “Masked mycotoxins” (Berthiller et al.
2013). These masked mycotoxins have the potential to
transform from harmless when outside the body to harmful
when inside. The most commonly occurring masked
mycotoxins in food commodities are deoxynivalenol-3-
glucoside (D3G), zearalenone-14-glucoside (Z14G), and
zearalenone-14-sulfate (Z14S). These compounds are either
totally or partially hydrolysed to release the parent aglycone
after ingestion (Dall’ Erta et al. 2013).
The extraction of mycotoxins from marine fungus also has
one of the recent issues in the study of mycotoxins. Nine
mycotoxins have been isolated from the fermentation broth
of marine gorgonian-derived fungus Aspergillus sp.
SCSGAF0093. Out of these nine mycotoxins (1-9), six of
them were from aspergillic acid group toxin and the
remaining three were from ochratoxins (Xu et al., 2013).
Conventionally the mycotoxins were detected by the
expensive high-performance liquid chromatography
(HPLC), gas chromatography (GC), Flame ionisation (FID)
or MS detectors and enzyme-linked immune sorbent assay
(ELISA) techniques. The present day’s interest is in the
development of the user-friendly biosensors for the
mycotoxin’s detection. The biosensors used for the
screening are the biomolecules (antibiotics, DNA and
enzymes) and synthetic chemicals (aptamers, MIP,
mimotopes, etc.). The biosensors are divided into two
categories, i.e. labelled and label-free sensors, which are
further categorised into competitive and non-competitive
based on the detection strategy (Chauhan et al. 2016).
Mycotoxins and Health
Mycotoxins can cause several serious health issues. The
effect can range from acute poisoning to long-lasting and
uncurable problems like cancer, in humans (WHO, 2018),
and in animals (Surai et al. 2008). Some of the serious
health hazards caused by mycotoxins are discussed below:
Mycotoxins and Animal Health
Mycotoxins successfully reach into animal’s body through
ingestion, skin contact or inhalation of fungal metabolites.
These metabolites come from different sources like
contaminated feeds, fodders, forages, and silages (Gallo et
al. 2015). Ochratoxin, produced by various species of
Aspergillus and Penicillium, are nephrogenic and
nephrocarcinogenic compounds and found to be occurring
in kidney, liver, and blood of animals and transfer from
animal feeds. Zearalenone (ZEA), produced by Fusarium
sp., is found to be affecting the reproductive health of
animals. (Zain, 2011). Aflatoxin B1 produced by various
strains of Aspergillus flabus, A. parasiticus, etc. are the
most potent carcinogenic aflatoxin for animals (Peterson et
al. 2007). Fumonisins (B1 and B2) are cancer-promoting
metabolites produced by Fusarium
proliferatum and Fusarium verticillioides. Trichothecene,
produced by Fusarium sp., Myrothecium sp., Phomopsis
sp., Trichoderma sp. etc. inhibit eukaryotic protein
synthesis, interfering in the initiation, the elongation and
termination steps of protein synthesis in the animal body.
Deoxynivalenol (DON), one of the essential trichothecenes
and most commonly found in grains, if ingested by animals
in higher doses cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea
(Edite et al., 2014). Above shown are just some of the
detrimental effects of mycotoxin in animals. Many other
toxins are present in feedstuffs, which has contributed to
ruining animal health. In the nation like Nepal, where
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mycotoxin monitoring in feed is rarely adopted, along with
the degrading health of animals, human health is also posed
at risks due to the consumption of contaminated animal
products. Meat and milk products produced by the animals
who are affected by mycotoxin, transfer these toxins to
human beings through their products.
Mycotoxins and Human Health
Mycotoxins pose a severe risk to human health. From acute
symptoms and illness right after the consumption of
contaminated food, to the initiation of long-lasting and
sometimes non-curable diseases like cancer and immune
deficiency have been reported till date. Also, mycotoxins
are globally distributed and have contaminated a substantial
share of the world’s staple food and food products. Among
hundreds of mycotoxins discovered till date, only a few of
them caught the concern of scientists as they were found to
be more harmful to humans. Aflatoxin, one of them, is
considered to be the most poisonous toxin produced by
molds Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus.
Having a wide variety of host range, i.e. maize, wheat, rice-
the three leading staple food of globe, pulses, spices, milk
and milk products, etc., aflatoxin has affected a
considerable sum of population all-round the globe.
Ingestion of aflatoxin in large amount would result in liver
damage and also genotoxicity, i.e. damaging of DNA
following cancer. Ochratoxin A, produced by various
species of Aspergillus and Penicillium, are identified to
have a considerable effect in kidney damage. Patulin, also
produced by some of the spices of Aspergillus, Penicillium
and Byssochlamys, often detected in apple-related products,
have been reported for nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances
and vomiting in human beings. Fusarium species that are
responsible for the production of different mycotoxins like
deoxynivalenol (DON), nivalenol (NIV), T-2 and HT-2
toxins, zearalenone (ZEN), fumonisins, etc. has led to
severe health issues: rapid irritation of skin and irritation,
intestinal mucosa and lead to diarrhoea. Fumonisins have
been associated with oesophagal cancer in humans (WHO,
2018). Moreover, long-term exposure to mycotoxins found
to be related to Neuropsychiatric symptoms like including
an inability to stand on one's toes, inability to walk in a
straight line with eyes closed, short-term memory loss,
altered blink-reflex latency, verbal recall impairments, etc.
(Ratnaseelan et al. 2018).
To minimise the risk of mycotoxin in the foods we
consume, it is necessary to inspect what we eat. Grains (corn
wheat, sorghum, rice), nuts (peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts,
walnuts) etc. should be appropriately inspected before
consuming and sorting out the infected ones. Any mouldy
grains and foodstuffs must be avoided to prevent the
contamination from the toxins. As prevention is always
better than cure, proper post-harvest handling of food
grains: drying of grains before to maintain the optimum
moisture level, avoiding any damage and injuries during
processing, storage, as injured ones are susceptible to mold
attack. Storage units must be maintained properly according
to the requirement of the grains to be stored. Too dry or too
humid units are prone to mold contamination. Above all, we
should include a diverse range of foodstuffs in our diet,
which not only helps to reduce mycotoxin exposure but also
improve our nutrition intake, enabling us to build immunity.
Management of Mycotoxins in Food
Mycotoxins in agricultural products are the primary cause
of health hazard to people, food security hazard and
economic problems. The consumption of food commodities
which are contaminated with mycotoxins can cause chronic
mycotoxicosis and may lead to death (Adegoke. and Letum,
2013). So, the prevention of fungal growth on agricultural
commodities to prevent mycotoxin contamination is of
utmost importance (Leibetseder, 2006). Several approaches
have been considered for the management and
decontamination of mycotoxins in food and agricultural
commodities. For avoiding the harmful effects of
mycotoxins in food three possibilities can be regarded as i.e.
Prevention of contamination
Decontamination of mycotoxin- containing food
and feed
Inhibition or absorption of mycotoxin content of
absorbed food into the digestive tract (Juodeikiene
et al. 2012). By using the techniques such as field
management, harvest management, using resistant
varieties, use of biological and chemical agents
(preharvest methods), improved drying methods,
good storage condition, and irradiation (post-
harvest methods) the contamination of mycotoxins
in food can be prevented Adegoke and Letum,
2013). The mycotoxin contamination in food
products can also be prevented by using some
selected microorganisms or enzymes which are
capable of detoxifying mycotoxins (Jard et al.
The decontamination of mycotoxins can be achieved either
by physical, chemical or biological methods. The dry
cleaning of the grains and milling operation can result in a
reduced level of mycotoxins in the flour (Juodeikiene et al.
2012). Since the mycotoxins are heat stable, the heat applied
during the processing of the food does not significantly
affect the mycotoxin level. The physical absorbents of
selective binding nature are also used commercially for the
mycotoxin decontamination. The use of chemical agents
such as alkali and oxidising agents have also been seen in
some countries for this purpose, but this process has got a
demerit of reducing the nutritional value of the food
products. The biological method, i.e. the use of
microorganisms such as yeast (S. cerevisiae and Candida
krusei) and Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) has been best suited
for the mycotoxin decontamination as this process tends to
improve the palatability and there is no significant loss in
the nutritive values of food (ibid). The management of
S. Puri et al. (2019) Int. J. Appl. Sci. Biotechnol. Vol 7(3): 298-303
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mycotoxins in food can also be done by using the principles
of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) (Awad et al.
Mycotoxin exposure has been a significant problem among
the global population in the context of health. About one-
fourth of the food is contaminated with mycotoxins, and if
this issue is not addressed on time, it could be a significant
threat to global food security. Several types of researches
and studies have shown that long term exposure to
mycotoxins would result in serious health problems like
liver damage, cancer, and even neuropsychiatric symptoms
in humans. Not only in humans, but the animal population
has also been affected by mycotoxins, which have resulted
in degraded animal health and production of contaminated
animal products. With proper handling of food products, i.e.
pre-harvest and post-harvest handling, we can mitigate the
occurrence of mycotoxins in food. Sushant Puri, Shuvam
Shingh, Priya Tiwari1
Author’s Contribution
All authors designed the research plan, performed
experimental works & collected the required data. Sushant
Puri and Shuvam Shingh prepared the manuscript & critical
revised the manuscript. All authors finalized the
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest with
present publication.
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... Chronic ingestion of mycotoxins can cause damage to the biologic system of humans in that the infection has been associated with diseases of the liver. Also, long-term exposure has been known to be carcinogenic [2]. A few of the mycotoxins that are known to cause disease in humans and some animals include aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin, and fumonisins ...
... Ochratoxin A is most commonly produced by certain Aspergillus and Penicillium species and are also known to be nephrotoxic [2,4], conducted a study on young ducklings to determine the effects of Ochratoxin A on the liver. Ducklings were given a weight-dose of Ochratoxin A for a period of two weeks via oral gavage. ...
... One such issue is the problem of mycotoxin contamination of our food supply and its multiple effects on individual and national health and on the social systems, both regionally and globally (Wild & Gong, 2010;Marroquín-Cardona et al., 2014;Puri et al., 2019). Other fields of research in mycology that involve the use of omics tools are the taxonomical classification of food molds (Choi & Kim, 2017;McCarthy & Fitzpatrick, 2017) and their proper identification (Donovan et al., 2018) as well as the mutual influences that other organisms, the physical and chemical environment, or the food matrix exert on food-relevant fungi (Brandl & Andersen, 2017). ...
The enormous volume of data related to the production, processing, transport, and marketing of food products is created in the food supply chain. Large data are generated from different modalities with different formats and for different purposes in the food supply chain. Due to the heterogeneous nature of data provided by this network of processes and players, data interoperability has become a complex challenge in the food supply chain. Data standardization is a critical foundation for addressing data interoperability challenges by enhancing data governance, data sharing, data quality, semantic interoperability, and data reusability. This paper discusses data interoperability challenges and focuses on semantic interoperability. It reviews several standardization approaches as a pathway to semantic interoperability and optimization of data quality within the food supply chain. This paper also explains the advantages of data standardization and the main barriers that can be overcome by standardization. Additionally, we provide an overview of an applicable case study to explain foodborne outbreak data standardization steps.
... One such issue is the problem of mycotoxin contamination of our food supply and its multiple effects on individual and national health and on the social systems, both regionally and globally (Wild & Gong, 2010;Marroquín-Cardona et al., 2014;Puri et al., 2019). Other fields of research in mycology that involve the use of omics tools are the taxonomical classification of food molds (Choi & Kim, 2017;McCarthy & Fitzpatrick, 2017) and their proper identification (Donovan et al., 2018) as well as the mutual influences that other organisms, the physical and chemical environment, or the food matrix exert on food-relevant fungi (Brandl & Andersen, 2017). ...
The demand for high-quality food and low-cost production has increased the need to automate and optimize supply chain processes. The recent trends in emerging artificial intelligence technologies offer new solutions for many of the agri-food problems. In the last two decades, many studies on the application of machine learning have successfully improved the speed and/or accuracy of many processes in the food supply chain. This paper provides a brief survey of the application of machine learning techniques to the food supply chain to discuss the challenges such as efficient real-time data collecting, quickly and meaningfully unraveling massive or complex data, and automation of decision-making without human intervention. Moreover, this paper reviews the recent application of machine learning techniques that have already been proposed and applied in food safety, food quality, and food production domains.
... Cereals and grains are considered highly susceptible to such types of infection during the pre-harvest and post-harvest stages of their production; their availability has a vital role in preventing hunger and food insecurity [3]. Mycotoxins, the secondary metabolites of fungi, are considered a food safety challenge, threatening the lives of humans and animals due to their immune toxicity, carcinogenicity, hepatotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, mutagenicity, and teratogenicity [4,5]. The pathogenicity and the toxigenic potentials of many fungal species, such as Aspergillus, Claviceps, Fusarium, Penicillium, and Alternaria, have been reported in various crops [6]. ...
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Mycotoxins in solid foods and feeds jeopardize the public health of humans and animals and cause food security issues. The inefficacy of most preventive measures to control the production of fungi in foods and feeds during the pre-harvest and post-harvest stages incited interest in the mitigation of these mycotoxins that can be conducted by the application of various chemical, physical , and/or biological treatments. These treatments are implemented separately or through a combination of two or more treatments simultaneously or subsequently. The reduction rates of the methods differ greatly, as do their effect on the organoleptic attributes, nutritional quality, and the environment. This critical review aims at summarizing the latest studies related to the mitigation of mycotoxins in solid foods and feeds. It discusses and evaluates the single and combined mycotoxin reduction treatments, compares their efficiency, elaborates on their advantages and disadvantages, and sheds light on the treated foods or feeds, as well as on their environmental impact.
... Aflatoxin B 1 and aflatoxin B 2 are identified by blue fluorescence under UV light while aflatoxin G 1 and G 2 are identified by green fluorescence under UV light. These aflatoxins causing a threat to food security worldwide (Puri, Shingh, & Tiwari, 2019). ...
Maize (Zea mays L.) is considered as one of the main cereals, used as a source of food, forage, and processed products. The loss of maize productivity is reported due to effect on roots, stalks, ears, and kernels mainly caused by many fungi. Among these fungal pathogens of maize, Aspergillus flavus (A. flavus) are the most prevalent that produces highly toxigenic aflatoxins that are highly carcinogenic to the consumers. The present study is confined to isolate and characterize the A. flavus from maize seeds for accurate identification that can be helpful for determination and management of aflatoxins in maize crop. Eighty stored seed samples of maize were collected from warehouses where seeds are stored for food and feeding purposes. For the isolation of A. flavus, Potato Dextrose Agar was used. Isolated fungi were identified macro and microscopically using light microscope and scanning electron microscope. A total of 212 Aspergillus isolates were identified based on macro-morphological and micro-morphological characteristics. The results showed that A. flavus colonies were granular, flat with yellow-green to deep yellow-green colony color having a white border and compact, spherical spore heads. Rapid rate of growth was observed maturing in about 3-5 days. In microscopic features, A. flavus have apically swollen conidiophores with various conidia bearing cells in long and dry chains. Spherical conidial heads were split into several columns ranging 300-400 μm in diameter. This will be helpful for farmers, researchers and traders in future for correct identification of sources of aflatoxins.
... An alarming situation regarding the mycotoxin contamination of food items has been reported from the USA, where 98% of corn samples were reported to have a single mycotoxin contamination, and 74% of corn samples were reported to have more than two mycotoxin contaminations. 1 Climate change also increases the risks associated with food safety by enhancing the risk of fungal and mycotoxin contamination in food products. 2 In the past, agriculture benefited from many technological innovations, including high-yielding hybrid varieties, fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, and biotechnology. ...
Postharvest food spoilage due to fungal and mycotoxin contamination is a major challenge in tropical countries, posing severe adverse effects on human health. Because of the negative effects of synthetic preservatives on both human health and environment, different chemicals of botanical origin having eco‐friendly nature and favorable safety profile are recommended as green preservatives. Recently, food industries and consumers are drastically shifted towards green consumerism because of their increased concern towards health and environment. Among different plant based products, essential oils (EOs) and their bioactive components are highly preferred as antimicrobial food preservative. In spite of having potent antimicrobial efficacy and preservation potential against fungal and mycotoxin contamination, essential oils and their bioactive components have limited practical applicability caused by high volatility and less stability, implying the development of techniques to overcome the challenges associated with EOs application. EOs and their bioactive components are promising alternatives of synthetic preservatives. In order to overcome challenges associated with EOs, nanotechnology has emerged as a novel hurdle technology in food industries. Nanoencapsulation may boost preservative potential of different essential oils by improving its solubility, stability and targeted sustainable release. Therefore, nanoencapsulation of EOs is currently being practiced for improving the stability and bioactivity of natural products. The present review has extensively dealt with the application of EOs and their nanoformulated products encapsulated in suitable polymeric matrices so as to recommend them as novel green preservatives against foodborne molds and mycotoxin induced deterioration of stored food commodities. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... The most prevalent toxins in the modern food chain are: aflatoxins (AFs), ochratoxin A (OTA), patulin, fumonisins, citrinin, ergot alkaloids, trichothecenes like deoxynivalenol (DON) and T-2 toxin (T-2) and zearalenone (ZEN) (Anfossi et al., 2016). These mycotoxins are mainly produced by Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium, and their presence causes huge economic losses due to the reduction of food and feed quality leading to rejection and destruction of affected batches, reduction in animal production, and increasing costs for medical treatment of patients suffering from mycotoxin-induced adverse health effects (Puri et al., 2019). ...
Contamination of food and feed by mycotoxins is considered one of most serious food safety problems in the world, because these fungal metabolites can be teratogenic, mutagenic, carcinogenic and immunosuppressive, and can cause serious damages to animal and human health. Mycotoxins may modulate the gut microbiota with potential consequences for gut and host health. On the other hand, the gut microbiota may metabolize the mycotoxins thereby converting them to a form with different activity. Chemical-microbial interactions can be categorized into two classes: Microbiome Modulation of Toxicity (MMT) and Toxicant Modulation of the Microbiome (TMM). The present review provides a state-of-the-art overview of this bi-directional interaction between the major food-borne mycotoxins such as aflatoxins, ochratoxins, deoxynivalenols and zearalenone present in food, feed and the gut microbiota. In addition, the effect of probiotics on gut microbiota in animals exposed to mycotoxins is summarized. Possible consequences of the role of gut microbiota for the risk assessment of mycotoxins, are also discussed. It is concluded that without taking the role of the gut microbiota into account effects of food-borne mycotoxins on health may be underestimated.
This chapter encompasses an overview of the use of big data in the field of food mycology and mycotoxins. Big data is a relatively new concept in the area of food science and not yet widespread, but it has excellent prospects for the future. With the emergence of this new concept, new science has also emerged, i.e., data science. The data scientist needs to operate under different disciplines, in comparison to the traditional mycologist, to extract the maximum potential from the data, through disciplined approaches strongly supported by statistics, computer science, and bioinformatics. In the near future, this new science could address issues related to the dynamics of food mycology and accelerate problem-solving and the creation of new insights. This chapter gives a snapshot of the history of classical methodologies and the advances in molecular technologies in foodborne fungi, a brief overview of the main omics approaches, and some perspectives on the use of omics in parallel with the science of data in the field of food mycology and mycotoxins.
Zearalenone (ZEN) is a toxic secondary metabolite mainly produced by fungi of the genus Fusarium, and is often present in various food and feed ingredients such as corn and wheat. The structure of ZEN is similar to that of natural estrogen, and it can bind to estrogen receptors and has estrogenic activity. Therefore, it can cause endocrine-disrupting effects and promote the proliferation of estrogen receptor-positive cell lines. In addition, ZEN can cause oxidative damage, endoplasmic reticulum stress, apoptosis, and other hazards, resulting in systemic toxic effects, including reproductive toxicity, hepatotoxicity, and immunotoxicity. In the past few decades, researchers have tried many ways to remove ZEN from food and feed, but it is still a challenge to eliminate it. In recent years, natural compounds have become of interest for their excellent protective effects on human health from food contaminants. Researchers have discovered that natural compounds often used as dietary supplements can effectively alleviate ZEN-induced systemic toxic effects. Most of the compounds mitigate ZEN-induced toxicity through antioxidant effects. In this article, the contamination of food and feed by ZEN and the various toxic effects and mechanisms of ZEN are reviewed, as well as the mitigation effects of natural compounds on ZEN-induced toxicity.
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This study was undertaken in 2016 to analyze the production and utilization of maize in Nepal. Sixty maize growers from Kavre and Lamjung districts were selected using purposive, cluster and simple random sampling techniques. Similarly, six feed industries and five maize experts from Chitwan district were also interviewed. Study shows 56% of the total areas were used for maize production and 50% of the maize areas were covered by hybrid maize. There was no practice of contract maize production. The results revealed that 60%, 25% and 3% of the grain were used for animal feed, food and seed respectively in hill districts. Whereas the remaining amount of the maize (12%) was sold to the different buyers. The proportion of maize feed supply to different animals in the study area was varying. Result shows that at least 1.5 million tons of maize is required only to the feed industries affiliated with national feed industry association in Nepal. Similarly, out of total maize used in feed production, 87% of the maize was imported from India each year by feed industries. Analysis shows negative correlation between scale of feed production and use of domestic maize due to unavailability of required quantity of maize in time. The major precondition of feed industries for maize buying was moisture content which must be equal or less than 14%. Very little or no inert materials and physical injury, free from fungal attack and bigger size were also the criteria for maize buying. However, some of the feed industries were also thinking about protein and amino acid contents. Result shows 13% and 8.5% increasing demand of poultry feed and animal feed, respectively over the last five year in Nepal. Most likely, maize is known as a means of food security in Nepal, however, in the context of changing utilization patterns at the farm level and also tremendous increasing demand of maize at the industry level suggest to give more focus on development and dissemination of maize varieties that can contribute to the feed security issues as well.
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This study aimed to review fungal mycotoxins in foods, their roles and significance in human nutrition and health. This paper provided comprehensive information on the mycological quality and mycotoxin safety of foods. The review showed that moulds are multicellular fungi that form thin thread like structures called hyphae. They are widely distributed and found wherever moisture is present with adequate nutrients that can sustain their growth. Fungi are major spoilage of foods and feedstuffs. The proliferation of various fungi in agricultural products leads to reduction in yield and quality with significant economic losses. Fungi produce secondary metabolites which are referred to as mycotoxins which have been found to be present in most food substances. The mycotoxins are low weight metabolites which cause harm known as mycotoxicoses, in livestock, domestic animals and humans and therefore of public health significance. The production of mycotoxins is stimulated by certain environmental factors: ...
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The presence of masked or hidden forms of Fusarium mycotoxins (deoxynivalenol, DON, zearalenone, ZEN and fumonisins Bl, B2 and B3) were studied in wheat and maize derived products. Significant amounts of these forms were found both in raw and in processed food commodities. Deoxynivalenol-3- glucoside was found in wheat products up to 30% of DON concentration. Bound forms of fumonisins often account for an equal or even higher amount in comparison with the free forms.
This chapter offers a description of the toxicological importance of metals as well as the risk analysis of metals. The parameters and recommendations used to establish safe intake values for the population are also reviewed. Given that the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and other food safety agencies describe cadmium, lead, mercury, arsenic, and aluminum as contaminants in food; the chapter also describes the main characteristics of these metals. For every metal, aspects like distribution in the environment and sources for humans, toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic properties, dietary intakes, and toxic effects are presented.
Purpose: The effects of air pollutants have been receiving increased attention both clinically and in the media. One such pollutant is mold, fungal growth in the form of multicellular filaments known as hyphae. The growth of molds is omnipresent not only in outdoor settings but also in indoor environments containing excessive amounts of moisture. Methods: PubMed was searched for relevant articles using terms such as mold, mycotoxins, fungi, immunity, inflammation, neurodevelopment, cognition, Alzheimer's, and autism. Findings: Exposure to molds is most commonly associated with allergies and asthma. However, it is now thought to be associated with many complex health problems, since some molds, especially Trichoderma, Fusarium and Stachybotrys spp, produce mycotoxins that are absorbed from the skin, airways, and intestinal lining. People exposed to molds and mycotoxins present with symptoms affecting multiple organs, including the lungs, musculoskeletal system, as well as the central and peripheral nervous systems. Furthermore, evidence has recently implicated exposure to mycotoxins in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder. The effects of mycotoxins can be mediated via different pathways that include the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, especially from mast cells. Implications: The information reviewed indicates that exposure to mold and mycotoxins can affect the nervous system, directly or through immune cell activation, thus contributing to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder.
Mycotoxins contamination in both food and feed is inevitable. Mycotoxin toxicity in foodstuff can occur at very low concentrations necessitating early availability of sensitive and reliable methods for their detection. The present research thrust is towards the development of a user friendly biosensor for mycotoxin detection at both academic and industrial levels in replace of conventional expensive chromatographic and ELISA techniques. This review critically analyze the recent research trend towards the construction of immunosensor, aptasensor, enzymatic sensors and others for mycotoxin detection with a reference to label and label free methods, synthesis of new material including nano dimension, and transuding techniques. Technological aspects in the development of biosensors for mycotoxin detection, current challenges and future prospects are also included to provide a overview and suggestions for future research directions.