Improved and Innovative Actions for Mycotoxin Management in the Food and Feed Chain 2.0

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2023) | Viewed by 10188

Special Issue Editors

1. Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy
2. Coordinating Research Centres (CRC), Innovation for Well-Being and Environment (I-WE), Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy
Interests: animal nutrition; mycotoxins; feed; cell-based bioassay
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
1. Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences (DIVAS), Università degli Studi di Milano, 26900 Lodi, Italy
2. CRC I-WE (Coordinating Research Centre: Innovation for Well-Being and Environment), Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: milk quality; nutrition; micronutrients; lipophilic compounds; methyl groups; alternative feed ingredients

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mycotoxins are one of the most relevant threats for food/feed safety and security because of the large economic and human and animal health impact. The globalization of the trade in agricultural commodities, the climate change scenario that moves important mycotoxins into new areas, the need to manage mycotoxins during epidemic years, and the lack of legislative harmonization have contributed significantly to the discussion about the awareness of mycotoxins entering the food supply chain. Mycotoxins are hard to beat, and the challenge is to minimise the effects. In the Special Issue “Improved and Innovative Actions for Mycotoxin Management in the Food and Feed Chain” we tried to answer several still open questions, and several improved and innovative actions for mycotoxin management in the food and feed chain were presented; however, a silver bullet to tackle mycotoxin threats is still unavailable. It is undeniable that the mycotoxin problem demands an integrated approach using proactive, innovative, and improved strategic actions all along the feed and food chain. Looking further ahead, we will be asked to managing mycotoxins in a sustainable future, in a global warming scenario and to move from science to practice.

Improved, innovative, and smart actions are needed to overcome the major challenges posed by mycotoxin contamination and to improve food/feed safety and security at a global level. What happens in the plant when a fungus (and toxin) is formed? Genetic improvements to crops and biotechnology are useful tools for reducing mycotoxin contamination in crops? What happens in storage? What happen during food and feed processing and how can we ensure sustainable management of mycotoxins in food and feed production processes? Can we reduce the waste of mycotoxin-contaminated food and feed? What is the effect of climate change? Mycotoxins never come alone, the co-occurrence of mycotoxins can affect both the level of mycotoxin production and the toxicity of the contaminated material. How to deal with 'emerging mycotoxins' or 'modified mycotoxins'? Rapid and on-site analytical methods are needed. Finally, the emergence of innovative solutions in mycotoxin management requires support from modelling strategies and digitalisation.

The aim of this issue is to provide an update on the improved, innovative, and smart actions for advanced management in the food and feed chain. Original research articles and literature reviews concerning the topic of the issue are welcome, including occurrence studies, economic and commodity trade analysis.

Prof. Dr. Federica Cheli
Prof. Dr. Luciano Pinotti
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • mycotoxins
  • occurrence
  • prevention
  • mycotoxins detoxification
  • biotechnology
  • management
  • analysis and sampling
  • modelling strategies
  • exposure and risk assessment
  • climate change
  • commodity trade
  • legislation

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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10 pages, 592 KiB  
Article
Compliance between Food and Feed Safety: Eight-Year Survey (2013–2021) of Aflatoxin M1 in Raw Milk and Aflatoxin B1 in Feed in Northern Italy
Toxins 2023, 15(3), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15030168 - 21 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1939
Abstract
Aflatoxins (AFs) are fungal metabolites that are found in feed and food. When ruminants eat feed contaminated with aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), it is metabolised and aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) is excreted in the milk. Aflatoxins can result in hepatotoxic, carcinogenic, and immunosuppressive effects. The [...] Read more.
Aflatoxins (AFs) are fungal metabolites that are found in feed and food. When ruminants eat feed contaminated with aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), it is metabolised and aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) is excreted in the milk. Aflatoxins can result in hepatotoxic, carcinogenic, and immunosuppressive effects. The European Union thus set a low threshold limit (50 ng/L) for presence of AFM1 in milk. This was in view of its possible presence also in dairy products and that quantification of these toxins is mandatory for milk suppliers. In the present study, a total of 95,882 samples of whole raw milk, collected in northern Italy between 2013 and 2021, were evaluated for presence of AFM1 using an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) method. The study also evaluated the relationship between feed materials collected from the same farms in the same area during the same period (2013–2021) and milk contamination. Only 667 milk samples out of 95,882 samples analysed (0.7%) showed AFM1 values higher than the EU threshold limit of 50 ng/L. A total of 390 samples (0.4%) showed values between 40 and 50 ng/L, thus requiring corrective action despite not surpassing the regulatory threshold. Combining feed contamination and milk contamination data, some feedingstuffs seem to be more effective in defying potential carryover of AFs from feed to milk. Combining the results, it can be concluded that a robust monitoring system that covers both feed, with a special focus on high risk/sentinel matrices, and milk is essential to guarantee high quality and safety standards of dairy products. Full article
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11 pages, 826 KiB  
Article
Occurrence and Determination of Alternaria Mycotoxins Alternariol, Alternariol Monomethyl Ether, and Tentoxin in Wheat Grains by QuEChERS Method
Toxins 2022, 14(11), 791; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14110791 - 12 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1682
Abstract
The Alternaria mycotoxins such as alternariol (AOH), alternariol monomethyl ether (AME), and tentoxin (TEN) are mycotoxins, which can contaminate cereal-based raw materials. Today, wheat is one of the most important crops in temperate zones, and it is in increasing demand in the Western [...] Read more.
The Alternaria mycotoxins such as alternariol (AOH), alternariol monomethyl ether (AME), and tentoxin (TEN) are mycotoxins, which can contaminate cereal-based raw materials. Today, wheat is one of the most important crops in temperate zones, and it is in increasing demand in the Western Balkans countries that are urbanizing and industrializing. This research aimed to investigate the occurrence and determine the concentration of Alternaria mycotoxins AOH, AME, and TEN in wheat samples from the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Albania, harvested in the year 2020 in the period between 15 June and 15 July. A total of 80 wheat grain samples, 40 from each country, were analyzed by an QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe) method. From the obtained results, it can be seen that the mean concentration of AOH was 3.3 µg/kg and AME was 2.2 µg/kg in wheat samples from Serbia, while TEN from both Serbia and Albania was under the limit of quantification (<LOQ). The maximum of AOH and AME mycotoxins was recorded only in wheat grain samples collected in the Republic of Serbia (5.3 and 2.3 µg/kg). In conclusion, Alternaria mycotoxins have concentrations above the LOQ, which could be potentially considered a health hazard to both humans and animals. Full article
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12 pages, 680 KiB  
Article
An Eight-Year Survey on Aflatoxin B1 Indicates High Feed Safety in Animal Feed and Forages in Northern Italy
Toxins 2022, 14(11), 763; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14110763 - 04 Nov 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2078
Abstract
Aflatoxins (AFs) remain the main concern for the agricultural and dairy industries due to their effects on the performances and quality of livestock production. Aflatoxins are always unavoidable and should be monitored. The objective of this paper is to bring to light a [...] Read more.
Aflatoxins (AFs) remain the main concern for the agricultural and dairy industries due to their effects on the performances and quality of livestock production. Aflatoxins are always unavoidable and should be monitored. The objective of this paper is to bring to light a significant volume of data on AF contamination in several animal feed ingredients in Northern Italy. The Regional Breeders Association of Lombardy has been conducting a survey program to monitor mycotoxin contamination in animal feeds, and in this paper, we present data relating to AFB1 contamination. In most cases (95%), the concentrations were low enough to ensure compliance with the European Union’s (EU’s) maximum admitted levels for animal feed ingredients. However, the data show a high variability in AF contamination between different matrices and, within the same matrix, a high variability year over year. High levels of AFs were detected in maize and cotton, especially in the central part of the second decade of this century, i.e., 2015–2018, which has shown a higher risk of AF contamination in feed materials in Northern Italy. Variability due to climate change and the international commodity market affect future prospects to predict the presence of AFs. Supplier monitoring and control and reduced buying of contaminated raw materials, as well as performing analyses of each batch, help reduce AF spread. Full article
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10 pages, 1085 KiB  
Article
Atropine and Scopolamine in Maize Products from the Retail Stores in the Republic of Serbia
Toxins 2022, 14(9), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14090621 - 05 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1940
Abstract
The cereal grains, which represent the cultivated grasses fruits, supply almost half of the total caloric requirements for humans and provide more nourishment compared with any other class of the food. Out of many cereals used for food, maize, rice, and wheat are [...] Read more.
The cereal grains, which represent the cultivated grasses fruits, supply almost half of the total caloric requirements for humans and provide more nourishment compared with any other class of the food. Out of many cereals used for food, maize, rice, and wheat are the most important food resources for humans, representing 94% of the total cereals consumption. According to the data of the Republic Institute of Statistics for the year 2018, the harvested areas of corn amount to 906,753 hectares. The production of about 7 million tons was achieved with an average yield of 7.7 t/ha according to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Serbia. Serbia is still among the ten largest exporters of wheat and corn in the world for the period of 2014/15–2017/18. More precisely, it ranks seventh in the export of corn. Utilization of maize products for food animal nutrition (1000 t) is 491,48, and for industrial processing (1000 t) 278,862 expressed as the total consumption (1000 t) is 769,910. Therefore, a total of 103 samples of maize products were analyzed for the presence of toxins, i.e., tropane alkaloids (TAs). The samples were collected from the retail stores in the Republic of Serbia in 2021 and analyzed for the presence of atropine and scopolamine (33 corn grits, 39 polenta, and 31 semolina samples). Therefore, the Recommendation 2015/976/EU on the monitoring of TAs in food was adopted by the EU Commission to obtain more occurrence data on TAs in food. The monitoring extent, however, is restricted because reliable analytical methods and appropriate sensitivity are limited. There was a limit of 1 g/kg for each atropine and scopolamine in cereals containing millet, sorghum, buckwheat, or their derivatives. All the samples were analyzed by the LC-MS/MS. The LOQ was set at 1.0 μg/kg. Out of the total 103 tested samples, 32 samples (31.1%) were contaminated with atropine and scopolamine in concentrations above the LOQ. The highest concentrations of the studied TAs were observed in a semolina sample-atropine: 58.80 μg/kg, scopolamine: 10.20 μg/kg. The obtained results indicate that the TAs concentrations are above the LOQ which can be considered potential human and animal health hazards. Full article
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Review

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17 pages, 769 KiB  
Review
E-Nose Technology for Mycotoxin Detection in Feed: Ready for a Real Context in Field Application or Still an Emerging Technology?
Toxins 2023, 15(2), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15020146 - 11 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2028
Abstract
Mycotoxin risk in the feed supply chain poses a concern to animal and human health, economy, and international trade of agri-food commodities. Mycotoxin contamination in feed and food is unavoidable and unpredictable. Therefore, monitoring and control are the critical points. Effective and rapid [...] Read more.
Mycotoxin risk in the feed supply chain poses a concern to animal and human health, economy, and international trade of agri-food commodities. Mycotoxin contamination in feed and food is unavoidable and unpredictable. Therefore, monitoring and control are the critical points. Effective and rapid methods for mycotoxin detection, at the levels set by the regulations, are needed for an efficient mycotoxin management. This review provides an overview of the use of the electronic nose (e-nose) as an effective tool for rapid mycotoxin detection and management of the mycotoxin risk at feed business level. E-nose has a high discrimination accuracy between non-contaminated and single-mycotoxin-contaminated grain. However, the predictive accuracy of e-nose is still limited and unsuitable for in-field application, where mycotoxin co-contamination occurs. Further research needs to be focused on the sensor materials, data analysis, pattern recognition systems, and a better understanding of the needs of the feed industry for a safety and quality management of the feed supply chain. A universal e-nose for mycotoxin detection is not realistic; a unique e-nose must be designed for each specific application. Robust and suitable e-nose method and advancements in signal processing algorithms must be validated for specific needs. Full article
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