Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by many filamentous fungi belonging to the phylum Ascomycota. Phytotoxicity or antimicrobial activity which is an example of additional effects can be found in some mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are often handled in a separate category from "fungal and yeast poisons" substances [2]. Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium, which are members of the fungal genus, frequently and dangerously cause contamination of foods and feeds with mycotoxins [3,4]. On foods and feeds, Aspergillus and Penicillium species often thrive while in storage conditions. Fusarium species usually infect field crops such as corn, barley and wheat and multiply in these plants [5,6]. Nowadays, although certain mycotoxins regularly contaminate foods and animal feeds, more than 300 mycotoxins have been identified and reported so far. Ochratoxins (OT), aflatoxins (AF), trichothecenes containing deoxynivalenol (DON) and T-2 toxin, patulin, fumonicins, and zearalenone (ZEA) are common mycotoxins [7,8].

Observed mycotoxin contamination in food has become one of the global problems. Mycotoxin contamination can occur as the crop plant is growing before harvest or during the processing, packaging, distribution and storage of food products that occurs after harvest, and this causes serious problems in food safety [8,9]. If crops and grains are stored at high temperatures, and under conditions that cause prolonged humidification which is considered unsuitable storage conditions, it, unfortunately, causes mold growth and mycotoxin contamination [6]. While the rice was considered to be the least favorable for mycotoxin contamination, maize is the most [10]. It is observed that mycotoxins are chemically and thermally stable as a result of food processing such as boiling, cooking, baking, roasting, frying and pasteurization. As a result of the animal eating contaminated feed, animal products such as meat, eggs and milk are contaminated with mycotoxins. As a result of consuming these animal products, mycotoxins threaten human health [4,11]. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which are national and international public health and government authorities, address this global issue by adopting strict regulatory guidelines on mycotoxin contamination in foods and feeds. In Table 1, the US FDA and EU limits for mycotoxin levels in food and animal feed, major toxins, major manufacturers and some commonly contaminated food products are listed.

Mycotoxins are recognized worldwide as unavoidable and unpredictable contaminants in food and feed. These chemicals, besides posing a serious risk for food safety, human and animal health, also cause great economic losses in the agricultural industry. Although many methods have been implemented to control or minimize the formation of mycotoxins in foods around the world, mycotoxin contamination of foods still remains a problem for the whole world. Various sensitive and accurate analytical methods have been developed to minimize the exposure of humans and animals to mycotoxins. While HPLC-FLD method is used to perform single mycotoxin analysis, HPLC-MS / MS is a method used to determine multiple mycotoxins simultaneously. ELISA and rapid antibody-based strip test kits, of various immunological tests, are commercially available to detect mycotoxins in different food products [1].






[1] Alshannaq, A., & Yu, J. (2017). Occurrence, Toxicity, and Analysis of Major Mycotoxins in Food. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(6), 632. doi:10.3390/ijerph14060632

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