Diverse mycotoxin threats to safe food and feed cereals

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Abstract

Toxigenic fungi, including Aspergillus and Fusarium species, contaminate our major cereal crops with an array of harmful mycotoxins, which threaten the health of humans and farmed animals. Despite our best efforts to prevent crop diseases, or postharvest spoilage, our cereals are consistently contaminated with aflatoxins and deoxynivalenol, and while established monitoring systems effectively prevent acute exposure, Aspergillus and Fusarium mycotoxins still threaten our food security. This is through the understudied impacts of: (i) our chronic exposure to these mycotoxins, (ii) the underestimated dietary intake of masked mycotoxins, and (iii) the synergistic threat of cocontaminations by multiple mycotoxins. Mycotoxins also have profound economic consequences for cereal and farmed-animal producers, plus their associated food and feed industries, which results in higher food prices for consumers. Climate change and altering agronomic practices are predicted to exacerbate the extent and intensity of mycotoxin contaminations of cereals. Collectively, this review of the diverse threats from Aspergillus and Fusarium mycotoxins highlights the need for renewed and concerted efforts to understand, and mitigate, the increased risks they pose to our food and feed cereals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number EBC20220221
Number of pages13
JournalEssays in Biochemistry
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding:
R.L. was funded by an Evolution and Education Trust PhD Studentship Award. J.B., A.B., and W.L. were funded by the University
of Bath research projects. N.B. was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Future Leader
Fellowship BB/N011686/1, an internal University of Bath grant, and a Royal Society [grant number RGS \R2 \ 202128]

The authors thank the EFSA for providing data. The authors also thank BIOMIN for providing their annual World Mycotoxin Survey Reports.

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