Current Research on Mycotoxins in Food and Feed: From Detection and Unravelling of Toxicity to Control

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Mycotoxins".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 17273

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Food Chemistry and Toxicology, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Vienna, Währinger Straße 38-40, 1090 Vienna, Austria
2. Unit Food Hygiene and Technology, Institute of Food Safety, Food Technology and Veterinary Public Health, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria
Interests: food chemistry and food safety; mycotoxins; phycotoxins; development and validation of analytical methods; LC–MS; in vitro toxicological evaluation; intestinal barrier integrity

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Guest Editor
1. Department of Food Technology, Safety and Health, Ghent University, B-9000 Gent, Belgium
2. Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut 71515, Egypt
Interests: food safety; mycotoxins; cyanotoxins; (HR)LC–MS; in vitro toxicology; metabolomics

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Guest Editor
Institute of Food Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100193, China
Interests: food safety; mycotoxins; LC-MS; food allergens
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mycotoxins are classed among the top food and feed contaminants all over the world. In addition to their negative impact on the worldwide economy, human and animal exposure to mycotoxins leads to deleterious health consequences. Over the last few decades, scientists have achieved significant progress in the mycotoxin research field through introducing new methods for detection, investigating toxic mechanisms, and proposing several feasible mitigation strategies. Indeed, all those efforts have enhanced the safety of food and feed and allowed us to better understand their toxic health effects. However, there is still a knowledge gap in many aspects, especially for the emerging members of mycotoxins.

In this Special Issue, we welcome all submissions related to (1) novel methods for multiclass mycotoxin detection (including the conjugated forms) in food and feed as well as human biofluids; (2) survey studies for risk assessment; (3) toxicity studies (in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo), especially if the work implements -omics approach to understand the mechanism of action; and (4) all types of laboratory and/or field studies for pre- and/or postharvest control. Review articles can be also submitted provided that they cover the topic of interest.

Dr. Elisabeth Varga
Dr. Mohamed F. Abdallah
Dr. Shupeng Yang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • mycotoxins
  • fungi
  • food safety
  • feed safety
  • mitigation
  • contamination
  • toxicity
  • omics
  • LC–MS

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

23 pages, 17428 KiB  
Article
Novel Endophytic Pseudescherichia sp. GSE25 Strain Significantly Controls Fusarium graminearum and Reduces Deoxynivalenol in Wheat
by Meiling Gao, Mohamed F. Abdallah, Minggui Song, Yiqian Xu, Daiyuan Sun, Ping Lu and Jianhua Wang
Toxins 2023, 15(12), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15120702 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1327
Abstract
Fusarium heading blight (FHB) is a devastating disease in wheat, primarily caused by field invasion of Fusarium graminearum. Due to the scarcity of resistant wheat varieties, the agricultural sector resorts to chemical fungicides to control FHB incidence. On the other hand, biocontrol [...] Read more.
Fusarium heading blight (FHB) is a devastating disease in wheat, primarily caused by field invasion of Fusarium graminearum. Due to the scarcity of resistant wheat varieties, the agricultural sector resorts to chemical fungicides to control FHB incidence. On the other hand, biocontrol represents a promising, eco-friendly approach aligned with sustainable and green agriculture concepts. In the present study, a bacterial endophyte, Pseudescherichia sp. (GSE25), was isolated from wheat seeds and identified through complete genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. In vitro testing of this endophytic strain demonstrated strong antifungal activity against F. graminearum PH-1 by inhibiting spore germination, suppressing germ tube growth, and causing cell membrane damage. Under field conditions, the strain GSE25 significantly reduced the FHB incidence and the associated deoxynivalenol mycotoxin accumulation by over 60% and 80%, respectively. These findings highlight the potential of the isolated bacterial endophyte Pseudescherichia sp. GSE25 strain as a biocontrol agent in protecting wheat from FHB-caused F. graminearum. This is the first report showing a biocontrol effect of Pseudescherichia sp. a strain against phytopathogens. Full article
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15 pages, 5369 KiB  
Article
Genotoxic and Mutagenic Effects of the Alternaria Mycotoxin Alternariol in Combination with the Process Contaminant Acrylamide
by Francesco Crudo, Chenyifan Hong, Elisabeth Varga, Giorgia Del Favero and Doris Marko
Toxins 2023, 15(12), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15120670 - 24 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1345
Abstract
Humans are constantly exposed to mixtures of different xenobiotics through their diet. One emerging concern is the Alternaria mycotoxin alternariol (AOH), which can occur in foods typically contaminated by the process contaminant acrylamide (AA). AA is a byproduct of the Maillard reaction produced [...] Read more.
Humans are constantly exposed to mixtures of different xenobiotics through their diet. One emerging concern is the Alternaria mycotoxin alternariol (AOH), which can occur in foods typically contaminated by the process contaminant acrylamide (AA). AA is a byproduct of the Maillard reaction produced in carbohydrate-rich foods during thermal processing. Given the genotoxic properties of AOH and AA as single compounds, as well as their potential co-occurrence in food, this study aimed to assess the cytotoxic, genotoxic, and mutagenic effects of these compounds in combination. Genotoxicity was assessed in HepG2 cells by quantifying the phosphorylation of the histone γ-H2AX, induced as a response to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Mutagenicity was tested in Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100 by applying the Ames microplate format test. Our results showed the ability of AOH and AA to induce DSBs and increase revertant numbers in S. typhimurium TA100, with AOH being more potent than AA. However, no synergistic effects were observed during the combined treatments. Notably, the results of the study suggest that the compounds exert mutagenic effects primarily through base pair substitutions. In summary, the data indicate no immediate cause for concern regarding synergistic health risks associated with the consumption of foods co-contaminated with AOH and AA. Full article
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17 pages, 1558 KiB  
Article
Use of Yeast Cell Wall Extract for Growing Pigs Consuming Feed Contaminated with Mycotoxins below or above Regulatory Guidelines: A Meta-Analysis with Meta-Regression
by Alexandra C. Weaver, Daniel M. Weaver, Nicholas Adams and Alexandros Yiannikouris
Toxins 2023, 15(10), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15100596 - 03 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1918
Abstract
Using a random-effects meta-analysis, the performance of growing pigs under a mycotoxin challenge (MT) with or without supplementation of yeast cell wall extract (YCWE, Mycosorb®, Alltech Inc.) was evaluated. Both MT and YCWE were also compared to animal controls not receiving [...] Read more.
Using a random-effects meta-analysis, the performance of growing pigs under a mycotoxin challenge (MT) with or without supplementation of yeast cell wall extract (YCWE, Mycosorb®, Alltech Inc.) was evaluated. Both MT and YCWE were also compared to animal controls not receiving mycotoxins (CTRL). Meta-regression was used to further explore the impacts of MT at/below (category 1) or above (category 2) global regulatory guidelines. Following the screening, 23 suitable references (30 mycotoxin treatments) were used. Overall, MT lowered average daily gain (ADG, p < 0.001) and average daily feed intake (ADFI, p < 0.0001) from CTRL by −84 and −165 g, respectively. Inclusion of YCWE during mycotoxin challenges (YCWE+MT, average 2.1 kg/ton) tended to result in greater ADG (+17 g, p = 0.068) compared to MT treatments. The gain-to-feed ratio (G:F) was not impacted by MT or YCWE+MT. Further investigation by meta-regression revealed that pigs fed MT in category 1 had lower ADG (−78.5 g, p < 0.001) versus CTRL, while YCWE+MT had higher ADG (+48 g, p < 0.001) over MT and was similar to CTRL. The ADFI was not impacted, although YCWE+MT had ADFI values similar to the CTRL. In category 2, ADG and ADFI of pigs fed MT were lower than CTRL (−85.1 and −166 g, respectively, p < 0.0001), with a tendency for YCWE+MT to result in higher ADFI (+25.3 g, p = 0.062). In summary, the inclusion of YCWE provided benefits to performance during common mycotoxin challenge levels (at or below regulatory guidelines). Full article
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12 pages, 1012 KiB  
Article
Alternaria Mycotoxins Analysis and Exposure Investigation in Ruminant Feeds
by Xin Mao, Wanzhao Chen, Huimin Wu, Ying Shao, Ya’ning Zhu, Qingyong Guo, Yanshen Li and Lining Xia
Toxins 2023, 15(8), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15080495 - 04 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1050
Abstract
Alternaria mycotoxins are a class of important, agriculture-related hazardous materials, and their contamination in ruminant feeds and products might bring severe toxic effects to animals and even human beings. To control these hazardous compounds, a reliable and sensitive LC-MS/MS (liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry) [...] Read more.
Alternaria mycotoxins are a class of important, agriculture-related hazardous materials, and their contamination in ruminant feeds and products might bring severe toxic effects to animals and even human beings. To control these hazardous compounds, a reliable and sensitive LC-MS/MS (liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry) method was established for simultaneous determination of six target Alternaria mycotoxins in ruminant feeds, including ALT (Altenuene), AME (Alternariol Monomethyl Ether), AOH (Alternariol), ATX-Ι (Altertoxins I), TeA (Tenuazonic Acid), and TEN (Tentoxin). This developed analytical method was used for the determination of the presence of these substances in cattle and sheep feeds in Xinjiang Province, China. The results revealed that Alternaria mycotoxins are ubiquitously detected in feed samples. Especially, AME, AOH, TeA, and TEN are the most frequently found mycotoxins with a positive rate over 40% and a concentration range of 4~551 µg/kg. The proposed method could be applied for exposure investigation of Alternaria mycotoxins in ruminant feeds and for the reduction in the health risk to animals and even consumers. Full article
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19 pages, 2056 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Maize Hybrids Resistance to Aspergillus Ear Rot and Aflatoxin Production in Environmental Conditions in Serbia
by Tijana Barošević, Ferenc Bagi, Zagorka Savić, Nataša Ljubičić and Ivana Ivanović
Toxins 2022, 14(12), 887; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14120887 - 19 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1892
Abstract
Aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxin produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus, is the most economically important mycotoxin in the world, with harmful effects on human and animal health. Preventive measures such as irrigation and planting dates can minimize aflatoxin contamination most years. However, [...] Read more.
Aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxin produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus, is the most economically important mycotoxin in the world, with harmful effects on human and animal health. Preventive measures such as irrigation and planting dates can minimize aflatoxin contamination most years. However, no control strategy is completely effective when environmental conditions are extremely favorable for growth of the fungus. The most effective control method is growing maize hybrids with genetic resistance to aflatoxin contamination. The aim of this research was to evaluate the sensitivity of different maize hybrids to A. flavus infection and aflatoxin accumulation. Twenty commercial maize hybrids were evaluated in field trials with artificial inoculations using the colonized toothpicks method. The mycotoxin production potential of A. flavus isolates was confirmed by cluster amplification patterns (CAPs) analysis. The results of this research indicated the existence of significant differences in maize hybrids susceptibility to Aspergillus ear rot and aflatoxin B1 accumulation. No hybrid included in this research showed complete resistance in all conditions, but some hybrids showed partial resistance. Different hybrids also responded differently depending on the sowing date. This research showed that infection intensity is not always consistent with aflatoxin levels, and therefore visual evaluation is not enough to assess maize safety. Full article
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15 pages, 4264 KiB  
Article
The Preferential Therapeutic Potential of Chlorella vulgaris against Aflatoxin-Induced Hepatic Injury in Quail
by Sawsan S. Elbasuni, Samar S. Ibrahim, Rasha Elsabagh, Mai O. Nada, Mona A. Elshemy, Ayman K. Ismail, Heba M. Mansour, Heba I. Ghamry, Samah F. Ibrahim, Ilhaam Alsaati, Ahmed Abdeen and Alshaimaa M. Said
Toxins 2022, 14(12), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14120843 - 01 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1738
Abstract
Aflatoxins (AFs) are the most detrimental mycotoxin, potentially hazardous to animals and humans. AFs in food threaten the health of consumers and cause liver cancer. Therefore, a safe, efficient, and friendly approach is attributed to the control of aflatoxicosis. Therefore, this study aimed [...] Read more.
Aflatoxins (AFs) are the most detrimental mycotoxin, potentially hazardous to animals and humans. AFs in food threaten the health of consumers and cause liver cancer. Therefore, a safe, efficient, and friendly approach is attributed to the control of aflatoxicosis. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the impacts of Chlorella vulgaris (CLV) on hepatic aflatoxicosis, aflatoxin residues, and meat quality in quails. Quails were allocated into a control group; the CLV group received CLV (1 g/kg diet); the AF group received an AF-contaminated diet (50 ppb); and the AF+CLV group received both treatments. The results revealed that AF decreased the growth performance and caused a hepatic injury, exhibited as an increase in liver enzymes and disrupted lipid metabolism. In addition, AF induced oxidative stress, exhibited by a dramatic increase in the malondialdehyde (MDA) level and decreases in glutathione (GSH) level, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities. Significant up-regulation in the inflammatory cytokine (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6) mRNA expression was also documented. Moreover, aflatoxin residues were detected in the liver and meat with an elevation of fat% alongside a decrease in meat protein%. On the other hand, CLV supplementation ameliorated AF-induced oxidative stress and inflammatory condition in addition to improving the nutritional value of meat and significantly reducing AF residues. CLV mitigated AF-induced hepatic damage, decreased growth performance, and lowered meat quality via its antioxidant and nutritional constituents. Full article
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17 pages, 3376 KiB  
Article
Arabic Gum Could Alleviate the Aflatoxin B1-provoked Hepatic Injury in Rat: The Involvement of Oxidative Stress, Inflammatory, and Apoptotic Pathways
by Noha Ahmed, Samir M. El-Rayes, Waleed F. Khalil, Ahmed Abdeen, Afaf Abdelkader, Mohammed Youssef, Zainab M. Maher, Amany N. Ibrahim, Shaymaa M. Abdelrahman, Samah F. Ibrahim, Doaa Abdelrahaman, Mohammed Alsieni, Osama S. Elserafy, Heba I. Ghamry, Hanan T. Emam and Obeid Shanab
Toxins 2022, 14(9), 605; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14090605 - 01 Sep 2022
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2660
Abstract
Aflatoxin B1 (AF) is an unavoidable environmental pollutant that contaminates food, feed, and grains, which seriously threatens human and animal health. Arabic gum (AG) has recently evoked much attention owing to its promising therapeutic potential. Thus, the current study was conducted to [...] Read more.
Aflatoxin B1 (AF) is an unavoidable environmental pollutant that contaminates food, feed, and grains, which seriously threatens human and animal health. Arabic gum (AG) has recently evoked much attention owing to its promising therapeutic potential. Thus, the current study was conducted to look into the possible mechanisms beyond the ameliorative activity of AG against AF-inflicted hepatic injury. Male Wistar rats were assigned into four groups: Control, AG (7.5 g/kg b.w/day, orally), AF (200 µg/kg b.w), and AG plus AF group. AF induced marked liver damage expounded by considerable changes in biochemical profile and histological architecture. The oxidative stress stimulated by AF boosted the production of plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) level along with decreases in the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) level and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity. Additionally, AF exposure was associated with down-regulation of the nuclear factor erythroid2–related factor2 (Nrf2) and superoxide dismutase1 (SOD1) protein expression in liver tissue. Apoptotic cascade has also been evoked following AF-exposure, as depicted in overexpression of cytochrome c (Cyto c), cleaved Caspase3 (Cl. Casp3), along with enhanced up-regulation of inflammatory mediators such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-6, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and nuclear factor kappa-B transcription factor/p65 (NF-κB/p65) mRNA expression levels. Interestingly, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory contents of AG may reverse the induced oxidative damage, inflammation, and apoptosis in AF-exposed animals. Full article
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Review

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17 pages, 1533 KiB  
Review
Current Knowledge of Individual and Combined Toxicities of Aflatoxin B1 and Fumonisin B1 In Vitro
by Xiangrong Chen, Mohamed F. Abdallah, Xiangfeng Chen and Andreja Rajkovic
Toxins 2023, 15(11), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15110653 - 13 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1650
Abstract
Mycotoxins are considered the most threating natural contaminants in food. Among these mycotoxins, aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and fumonisin B1 (FB1) are the most prominent fungal metabolites that represent high food safety risks, due to their widespread co-occurrence in several food commodities, and their [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins are considered the most threating natural contaminants in food. Among these mycotoxins, aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and fumonisin B1 (FB1) are the most prominent fungal metabolites that represent high food safety risks, due to their widespread co-occurrence in several food commodities, and their profound toxic effects on humans. Considering the ethical and more humane animal research, the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, and refinement) principle has been promoted in the last few years. Therefore, this review aims to summarize the research studies conducted up to date on the toxicological effects that AFB1 and FB1 can induce on human health, through the examination of a selected number of in vitro studies. Although the impact of both toxins, as well as their combination, were investigated in different cell lines, the majority of the work was carried out in hepatic cell lines, especially HepG2, owing to the contaminants’ liver toxicity. In all the reviewed studies, AFB1 and FB1 could invoke, after short-term exposure, cell apoptosis, by inducing several pathways (oxidative stress, the mitochondrial pathway, ER stress, the Fas/FasL signaling pathway, and the TNF-α signal pathway). Among these pathways, mitochondria are the primary target of both toxins. The interaction of AFB1 and FB1, whether additive, synergistic, or antagonistic, depends to great extent on FB1/AFB1 ratio. However, it is generally manifested synergistically, via the induction of oxidative stress and mitochondria dysfunction, through the expression of the Bcl-2 family and p53 proteins. Therefore, AFB1 and FB1 mixture may enhance more in vitro toxic effects, and carry a higher significant risk factor, than the individual presence of each toxin. Full article
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21 pages, 1833 KiB  
Review
Aspergillus flavus and Fusarium verticillioides and Their Main Mycotoxins: Global Distribution and Scenarios of Interactions in Maize
by Xiangrong Chen, Mohamed F. Abdallah, Sofie Landschoot, Kris Audenaert, Sarah De Saeger, Xiangfeng Chen and Andreja Rajkovic
Toxins 2023, 15(9), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15090577 - 18 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1983
Abstract
Maize is frequently contaminated with multiple mycotoxins, especially those produced by Aspergillus flavus and Fusarium verticillioides. As mycotoxin contamination is a critical factor that destabilizes global food safety, the current review provides an updated overview of the (co-)occurrence of A. flavus and [...] Read more.
Maize is frequently contaminated with multiple mycotoxins, especially those produced by Aspergillus flavus and Fusarium verticillioides. As mycotoxin contamination is a critical factor that destabilizes global food safety, the current review provides an updated overview of the (co-)occurrence of A. flavus and F. verticillioides and (co-)contamination of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and fumonisin B1 (FB1) in maize. Furthermore, it summarizes their interactions in maize. The gathered data predict the (co-)occurrence and virulence of A. flavus and F. verticillioides would increase worldwide, especially in European cold climate countries. Studies on the interaction of both fungi regarding their growth mainly showed antagonistic interactions in vitro or in planta conditions. However, the (co-)contamination of AFB1 and FB1 has risen worldwide in the last decade. Primarily, this co-contamination increased by 32% in Europe (2010–2020 vs. 1992–2009). This implies that fungi and mycotoxins would severely threaten European-grown maize. Full article
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