What is Patulin?

What is Patulin?


Fungal growth is a common and natural phenomenon in foods. Patulin is a mycotoxin produced by the digestive waste of fungus and is found mostly in fruits, fruit products, and other foods. It was discovered as an antibiotic in the 1940s. Although proven to be effective against bacteria and molds, it has been found that it is carcinogenic for plants and animals due to its toxic and unsaturated lactone structure.


Patulin is mostly found in self-molded pastry and animal products such as cheese, salami, etc. Patulin can be encountered more frequently in fruit & vegetable products rather than in animal products. There are three primary patulin resources: Penicillium expansum, which causes brown rotting in apples, pears, peaches, quinces, apricots, and tomatoes. Penicillium Urticae that often causes rotting in said foodstuffs. Lastly, Byssochlmysnivea is a heat resistant fungus used in the processing of fruit juices.


Brown rotten parts are an indicator of the presence of patulin; consequently, patulin can pass to fruit juices sourced from these partially rotten fruits. As patulin is resistant to heat at low pH, it is not possible to destroy it through pasteurization. Detoxication of foods containing patulin is not feasible. Given these conditions, patulin-prevention measures should be implemented; a key step in this process is determining the conditions that encourage patulin formation. 


Due to the negative effects of mycotoxins such as patulin on human and animal health, restrictions have been implemented in many countries for foodstuffs that are conducive to mycotoxin formation. Codex Alimentarius and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined the highest level for apple juices and products containing apples as 50 mcg / kg. Although this upper limit is determined as 50 mcg / kg for apple juice products, 25 mcg / kg for solid apple products and 10 mcg / kg for baby food in the European Union, differences may vary depending on the country.

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CONTENT: Tamer Yiğit Alemdar

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