Introduction mycotoxins

We have several HACCP hazard tables. Below you can see the HACCP variation table which we have composed concerning the subject ‘Mycotoxins'. Since this table is very extensive, we recommend using the download below to view the table properly.

What are mycotoxins?

A mycotoxin (from the Gk. μύκης (mykes) “fungus”) is a poison () produced by an organism of the fungal family, such as mushrooms, filamentous fungi, and . Most fungi are aerobic (they use oxygen), and are found almost everywhere in very small amounts because of their spores. Fungi can grow on crops such as grains, nuts, and (legume) fruits, but can also end up in products made from them, such as and peanut butter. Products are closely monitored for fungal toxins. Therefore, the to health is very small. The health benefits of grains, nuts, and , fruits far outweigh these.

Table: Hazards caused by mycotoxins

Mycotoxin (toxin from fungus)FungusAgricultural raw and food productsADI of AWI (ug/kg body weight)EffectsLegislative Comments
Aflatoxin (five species: B1, B2, G1, G2; M1 occurs in and comes from B1) and M2 (M1 and M2 are conversion products of Aflatoxin B1, B2 into lactating mammalsAspergillus flavus Aspergillus parasiticusCereals, buckwheat, maize and maize products, cottonseed, peanuts, other types of nuts (pistachio-nuts, walnuts), , dried figs, milk (products), seed soy and soy products.Acute toxic; degradation of liver and kidneys. Chronic: carcinogenic (cancer forming) especially in the liver.Maximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006Aflatoxin B 1 is the most common and toxic carcinogen. In milk (products) the most common aflatoxin M 1 formed after B 1 is broken down. Around 1-3% B 1 is processed in milk to M 1. M 1 is not as poisonous and carcinogenic as B 1. Next to M 1 are other break-down products of B 1 present in milk. Fungus mostly grows during transport and in the tropics, mostly characterised by high temperatures (optimum 25 °C: range 8-37) and or high humidity (>83%). In developed countries (VS) are aflatoxins mainly caused during difficult growth seasons (growth stress).
Ochratoxin A&BAspergillus Penicillium speciesBarley, rye, wheat, rice, maize, peanuts, Brazilian nuts, peppers, Cotton seed, and Cheese.AWI of toxin A: 0,112 (JECFA, 1990) limit: 10 ug/kg food . LD 50 (rat, oral) of toxin A: 20 mg/kgMaximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006Toxin A is more toxic than B. In the Netherlands, such low amounts found that the risk is perceived as very low and therefore is there no norm. Growth fungus is possible in a temperate climate. Toxin A is inactivated at > 221 °C
SterigmatocystineAspergillus versicolor;
Aspergillus ruber;
Aspergillus flavus;
Penicillium luteum;
Aspergillus nidulans,
Grain, buckwheat, wheat, rice, peanut, soy, cheese, cheese crust, green coffee and melting cheese.No ADIAcute: Damage to liver, teratogenic.
Chronic: mutagenic and carcinogenic.
Maximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006In the Netherlands research was conducted on the presence of toxins in grain, buckwheat, and soy products. Toxins were not found and therefore the is considered unnecessary.
PatulinApergillus clavatus;
Penicillium roqueforti;
Penicillium expansum;
Penicillium patulum
Apples, apple juice, molded fruits, grains, cheese and sausageAWI: 7 (JECFA, 1989)Acute toxic (damaging of lungs, brains, liver and kidneys); carcinogenic effects are not found (IARC, 1985).Maximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006During the of apple juice to cider, vitamin C destruction takes place. The Patulin content can be an indication for the handling of GMP (to establish that rotten apples are not used).
Ergot alkaloidsClaviceps purpurea;
Claviceps paspali
Rye (mainly), wheat, barley, oats.ADI: 0,001 mg/kg (Human). Medicinal: 0,125 mg/kgHallucinations, gangrene. Carcinogenicity is not proved yet.Maximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006: last human case was in 1951. In the middle ages was it a common disease (St. Anthoniusvuur). Toxins are encapsulated by stiff purple granules. Toxin forming takes already place at the agricultural level.
Deoxynivalenol (DON)Fusarium spp.,
Fusarium graminearum
Wheat, barley, maize, oats, rye, rice, grain flakes and bran.ADI Adults: 3 ADI, children: 1,5 (NRC, Canada 1985)Acute toxic: several effects (such as vomiting and degradation of immunity). Possible tetragene. Carcinogenicity is not proven.Maximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006The interactions and toxicity are relatively unknown; more research is preferred. Fusarium spp. is found on grains in temperate climates and its toxins are produced at the agricultural level.
Nivalenol (NIV)Fusarium tricinctumWheat, barley, maize, oats, rye, rice, cereal flakes and bran.Maximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006Mostly found next to DON and toxins are produced mainly on the agricultural level.
Fumonisin B1, B2 and B3.Fusarium moniliformeMaize and maize productsPossible carcinogenic for esophagus and liver.Maximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006
T2-toxinFusarium spp.Millet, wheat, oats, barley, rye, buckwheat, peanuts, maize and sorghum.Acute toxic: alimentary toxic aleukia (ATA) → 80% dies. Possible also mutagenic and teratogenic.Maximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006The growth of the fungus is stimulated by low temperatures, especially around the freezing point. Hibernating grains on the field is not recommended. The inactivation of toxins happens at temperatures higher than 200 °C.
Zearalenone (ZEN)Fusarium spp.,
among others: Fusarium graminaerum
Fusarium roseum,
Fusarium culmorum,
Fusarium moniliforme
Maize, sorghum, wheat, barley.Negative estrogenic effects on fertility. Probably mutagenic, teratogenic and carcinogenic.Maximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006Forming of toxins is stimulated by temperatures for a long time around the freezing point and from low to moderate. Fungal growth happens mainly on the field but it is also possible during storage. Inactivation of the toxins happens at temperatures higher than 165 °C.
Rubratoxine (A and B)Penicillium rubrumGround, peanuts, legumes, maize, and sunflower seeds.Acute toxicMaximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006Diseases are often found in animals that consumed contaminated animal feed. Inactivation of toxin A happens at temperatures higher than 214 °C and toxin B at temperatures higher than 170 °C.
Yellow-rice-toxins (o.a. citrinin, citreo-viridin)Penicillium spp. sometimes Aspergillus spp. Penicillium citrinum and Penicillium veridicatum.Rice, wheat, barley and peanuts.Citrinin: LD 50 b for rats, oral = 50 mg/kg.Maximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006Citrinin gets inactivated around temperatures higher than 172 °C; citreoviridin at temperatures higher than 110 °C. P.Citrinum produces (except citrinin) also a yellowish pigment that becomes fluorescent under UV light.
FycotoxinsAlgae, and products (as a consequence of the food supply) especially shellfish naturally in plants.Toxic and or unfavourable for the bioavailability of nutrients.Maximum levels according to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006Heat resistant during normal preparation treatments, occurring toxins; solanum-alkaloids in potatoes, glucosinolates in cabbage species and agaritine in mushrooms.
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