Some major mycotoxins and their mycotoxicoses–an overview

Author: Richard, J.L.

Description: Mycotoxins likely have existed for as long as crops have been grown but recognition of the true chemical nature of such entities of fungal metabolism was not known until recent times. Conjecturally, there is historical evidence of their presence back as far as the time reported in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Evidence of their periodic, historical occurrence exists until the recognition of aflatoxins in the early 1960s. At that time, mycotoxins were considered as a storage phenomenon whereby grains becoming moldy during storage allowed for the production of these secondary metabolites proven to be toxic when consumed by man and other animals. Subsequently, aflatoxins and mycotoxins of several kinds were found to be formed during development of crop plants in the field. The determination of which of the many known mycotoxins are significant can be based upon their frequency of occurrence and/or the severity of the disease that they produce, especially if they are known to be carcinogenic. Among the mycotoxins fitting into this major group would be the aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol, fumonisins, zearalenone, T-2 toxin, ochratoxin and certain ergot alkaloids. The diseases (mycotoxicoses) caused by these mycotoxins are quite varied and involve a wide range of susceptible animal species including humans. Most of these diseases occur after consumption of mycotoxin contaminated grain or products made from such grains but other routes of exposure exist. The diagnosis of mycotoxicoses may prove to be difficult because of the similarity of signs of disease to those caused by other agents. Therefore, diagnosis of a mycotoxicoses is dependent upon adequate testing for mycotoxins involving sampling, sample preparation and analysis.

Subject Headings: Aflatoxins/chemistry/toxicity; Animals; Edible Grain/chemistry/microbiology; Ergot Alkaloids/chemistry/toxicity; Food Contamination/prevention & control; Food Handling/methods; Fungi/metabolism; Humans; Mycotoxicosis/diagnosis; Mycotoxins/biosynthesis/chemistry/toxicity; Ochratoxins/chemistry/toxicity; Trichothecenes/chemistry/toxicity

Publication year: 2007

Journal or book title: International Journal of Food Microbiology

Volume: 119

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 3-10

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 2699