Evaluation and Prevention of Mycotoxin Contamination and Toxicological Effects

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2023) | Viewed by 26313

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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Valencia, 46100 Burjassot, Valencia, Spain
Interests: analytical determination of mycotoxins and metabolites in food and biological matrix; risk assessment

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Valencia, Av. Vicent Andrés Estelles, s/n, Burjassot, 46100 Valencia, Spain
Interests: mechanistic toxicology of natural contaminants and chemical substances by applying in vitro methods
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last decades, mycotoxins, toxic fungal secondary metabolites that frequently contaminate foods and feeds, have attracted great interest at both the scientific and industrial levels. The toxicity of these compounds has led to several regulations in many countries to control and quantify these contaminants for their subsequent risk assessment. Many analytical methods were developed from rapid screening test to mass spectrometry technology to setup multi-mycotoxin validated methods. Today, the food processing industry is looking for technologies to remove or reduce mycotoxins from food materials keeping the nutritive value and the palatability of the products treated. New non-destructive strategies, also known as innovative non-thermal food processing technologies, are being explored as an alternative to conventional thermal treatments for mycotoxin decontamination.

In addition, mycotoxins and their metabolites can interact with each other or with other chemicals and cause toxic effects. A better understanding of mechanistic toxicology at the cellular and molecular level is of great importance in order to achieve more realistic exposure data. A more detailed approach of the role of mycotoxin-induced toxicity and the mechanisms protecting cells against the action of mycotoxins represents an attractive strategy for the risk assessment of mycotoxins.

In vitro methods with the use of the omics, microscale techniques, and bioimaging will serve to discover a broad spectrum of mechanisms attributable to the toxic effects of mycotoxins, masked mycotoxins, and their metabolites. All of these methods, provide a deeper insight into the risk factor of mycotoxins for human and animal health.

We look forward to receiving your contributions for this Special Issue in the form of original research or review papers aiming at advancing the knowledge of the risk exposure assessment of any mycotoxins, including biomarkers or masked mycotoxins, alone or in combination. Original research articles or reviews on analytical screening methodology, as well as in vitro method development, are also welcome.

Prof. Dr. Houda Berrada
Prof. Dr. María José Ruiz Leal
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • mycotoxins
  • occurrence
  • mitigation
  • in vitro toxicity
  • metabolic pathway
  • mechanisms of action
  • prevention

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 365 KiB  
Article
The Occurrence and Health Risk Assessment of Aflatoxin M1 in Raw Cow Milk Collected from Tunisia during a Hot Lactating Season
by Khouloud Ben Hassouna, Jalila Ben Salah-Abbès, Kamel Chaieb, Samir Abbès, Emilia Ferrer, Francisco J. Martí-Quijal, Noelia Pallarés and Houda Berrada
Toxins 2023, 15(9), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15090518 - 24 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1272
Abstract
Milk is a staple food that is essential for human nutrition because of its high nutrient content and health benefits. However, it is susceptible to being contaminated by Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), which is a toxic metabolite of Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) presented in cow [...] Read more.
Milk is a staple food that is essential for human nutrition because of its high nutrient content and health benefits. However, it is susceptible to being contaminated by Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), which is a toxic metabolite of Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) presented in cow feeds. This research investigated AFM1 in Tunisian raw cow milk samples. A total of 122 samples were collected at random from two different regions in 2022 (Beja and Mahdia). AFM1 was extracted from milk using the QuEChERS method, and contamination amounts were determined using liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with fluorescence detection (FD). Good recoveries were shown with intra-day and inter-day precisions of 97 and 103%, respectively, and detection and quantification levels of 0.003 and 0.01 µg/L, respectively. AFM1 was found in 97.54% of the samples, with amounts varying from values below the LOQ to 197.37 µg/L. Lower AFM1 was observed in Mahdia (mean: 39.37 µg/L), respectively. In positive samples, all AFM1 concentrations exceeded the EU maximum permitted level (0.050 µg/L) for AFM1 in milk. In Tunisia, a maximum permitted level for AFM1 in milk and milk products has not been established. The risk assessment of AFM1 was also determined. Briefly, the estimated intake amount of AFM1 by Tunisian adults through raw cow milk consumption was 0.032 µg/kg body weight/day. The Margin of Exposure (MOE) values obtained were lower than 10,000. According to the findings, controls as well as the establishment of regulations for AFM1 in milk are required in Tunisia. Full article
18 pages, 2112 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Charcoal, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae as Aflatoxin Adsorbents in Chocolate
by Gamal M. Hamad, Amr Amer, Baher El-Nogoumy, Mohamed Ibrahim, Sabria Hassan, Shahida Anusha Siddiqui, Ahmed M. EL-Gazzar, Eman Khalifa, Sabrien A. Omar, Sarah Abd-Elmohsen Abou-Alella, Salam A. Ibrahim, Tuba Esatbeyoglu and Taha Mehany
Toxins 2023, 15(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15010021 - 28 Dec 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3230
Abstract
The high incidence of aflatoxins (AFs) in chocolates suggests the necessity to create a practical and cost-effective processing strategy for eliminating mycotoxins. The present study aimed to assess the adsorption abilities of activated charcoal (A. charcoal), yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), and the [...] Read more.
The high incidence of aflatoxins (AFs) in chocolates suggests the necessity to create a practical and cost-effective processing strategy for eliminating mycotoxins. The present study aimed to assess the adsorption abilities of activated charcoal (A. charcoal), yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), and the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus as AFs adsorbents in three forms—sole, di- and tri-mix—in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) through an in vitro approach, simulated to mimic the conditions present in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) based on pH, time and AFs concentration. In addition, the novel fortification of chocolate with A. charcoal, probiotic, and yeast (tri-mix adsorbents) was evaluated for its effects on the sensory properties. Using HPLC, 60 samples of dark, milk, bitter, couverture, powder, and wafer chocolates were examined for the presence of AFs. Results showed that all the examined samples contained AFs, with maximum concentrations of 2.32, 1.81, and 1.66 µg/kg for powder, milk, and dark chocolates, respectively. The combined treatment demonstrated the highest adsorption efficiency (96.8%) among all tested compounds. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis revealed the tested adsorbents to be effective AF-binding agents. Moreover, the novel combination of tri-mix fortified chocolate had a minor cytotoxicity impact on the adsorptive abilities, with the highest binding at pH 6.8 for 4 h, in addition to inducing an insignificant effect on the sensory attributes of dark chocolate. Tri-mix is thus recommended in the manufacturing of dark chocolate in order to enhance the safety of the newly developed product. Full article
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25 pages, 2846 KiB  
Article
Lactic Acid Bacteria as Potential Agents for Biocontrol of Aflatoxigenic and Ochratoxigenic Fungi
by Eva María Mateo, Andrea Tarazona, Misericordia Jiménez and Fernando Mateo
Toxins 2022, 14(11), 807; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14110807 - 19 Nov 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2397
Abstract
Aflatoxins (AF) and ochratoxin A (OTA) are fungal metabolites that have carcinogenic, teratogenic, embryotoxic, genotoxic, neurotoxic, and immunosuppressive effects in humans and animals. The increased consumption of plant-based foods and environmental conditions associated with climate change have intensified the risk of mycotoxin intoxication. [...] Read more.
Aflatoxins (AF) and ochratoxin A (OTA) are fungal metabolites that have carcinogenic, teratogenic, embryotoxic, genotoxic, neurotoxic, and immunosuppressive effects in humans and animals. The increased consumption of plant-based foods and environmental conditions associated with climate change have intensified the risk of mycotoxin intoxication. This study aimed to investigate the abilities of eleven selected LAB strains to reduce/inhibit the growth of Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus, Aspergillus carbonarius, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus welwitschiae, Aspergillus steynii, Aspergillus westerdijkiae, and Penicillium verrucosum and AF and OTA production under different temperature regiments. Data were treated by ANOVA, and machine learning (ML) models able to predict the growth inhibition percentage were built, and their performance was compared. All factors LAB strain, fungal species, and temperature significantly affected fungal growth and mycotoxin production. The fungal growth inhibition range was 0–100%. Overall, the most sensitive fungi to LAB treatments were P. verrucosum and A. steynii, while the least sensitive were A. niger and A. welwitschiae. The LAB strains with the highest antifungal activity were Pediococcus pentosaceus (strains S11sMM and M9MM5b). The reduction range for AF was 19.0% (aflatoxin B1)-60.8% (aflatoxin B2) and for OTA, 7.3–100%, depending on the bacterial and fungal strains and temperatures. The LAB strains with the highest anti-AF activity were the three strains of P. pentosaceus and Leuconostoc mesenteroides ssp. dextranicum (T2MM3), and those with the highest anti-OTA activity were Leuconostoc paracasei ssp. paracasei (3T3R1) and L. mesenteroides ssp. dextranicum (T2MM3). The best ML methods in predicting fungal growth inhibition were multilayer perceptron neural networks, followed by random forest. Due to anti-fungal and anti-mycotoxin capacity, the LABs strains used in this study could be good candidates as biocontrol agents against aflatoxigenic and ochratoxigenic fungi and AFL and OTA accumulation. Full article
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13 pages, 4986 KiB  
Article
The Neurotoxic Effect of Ochratoxin-A on the Hippocampal Neurogenic Niche of Adult Mouse Brain
by Eva Mateo, Rik Paulus Bernardus Tonino, Antolin Canto, Antonio Monroy Noyola, Maria Miranda, Jose Miguel Soria and María Angeles Garcia Esparza
Toxins 2022, 14(9), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14090624 - 6 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2016
Abstract
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a common secondary metabolite of Aspergillus ochraceus, A. carbonarius, and Penicillium verrucosum. This mycotoxin is largely present as a contaminant in several cereal crops and human foodstuffs, including grapes, corn, nuts, and figs, among others. Preclinical [...] Read more.
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a common secondary metabolite of Aspergillus ochraceus, A. carbonarius, and Penicillium verrucosum. This mycotoxin is largely present as a contaminant in several cereal crops and human foodstuffs, including grapes, corn, nuts, and figs, among others. Preclinical studies have reported the involvement of OTA in metabolic, physiologic, and immunologic disturbances as well as in carcinogenesis. More recently, it has also been suggested that OTA may impair hippocampal neurogenesis in vivo and that this might be associated with learning and memory deficits. Furthermore, aside from its widely proven toxicity in tissues other than the brain, there is reason to believe that OTA contributes to neurodegenerative disorders. Thus, in this present in vivo study, we investigated this possibility by intraperitoneally (i.p.) administering 3.5 mg OTA/kg body weight to adult male mice to assess whether chronic exposure to this mycotoxin negatively affects cell viability in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Immunohistochemistry assays showed that doses of 3.5 mg/kg caused a significant and dose-dependent reduction in repetitive cell division and branching (from 12% to 62%). Moreover, the number of countable astrocytes (p < 0.001), young neurons (p < 0.001), and mature neurons (p < 0.001) negatively correlated with the number of i.p. OTA injections administered (one, two, three, or six repeated doses). Our results show that OTA induced adverse effects in the hippocampus cells of adult mice brain tissue when administered in cumulative doses. Full article
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15 pages, 1371 KiB  
Article
Influence of Agronomic Factors on Mycotoxin Contamination in Maize and Changes during a 10-Day Harvest-Till-Drying Simulation Period: A Different Perspective
by Bernat Borràs-Vallverdú, Antonio J. Ramos, Carlos Cantero-Martínez, Sonia Marín, Vicente Sanchis and Jesús Fernández-Ortega
Toxins 2022, 14(9), 620; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14090620 - 5 Sep 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1726
Abstract
Agronomic factors can affect mycotoxin contamination of maize, one of the most produced cereals. Maize is usually harvested at 18% moisture, but it is not microbiologically stable until it reaches 14% moisture at the drying plants. We studied how three agronomic factors (crop [...] Read more.
Agronomic factors can affect mycotoxin contamination of maize, one of the most produced cereals. Maize is usually harvested at 18% moisture, but it is not microbiologically stable until it reaches 14% moisture at the drying plants. We studied how three agronomic factors (crop diversification, tillage system and nitrogen fertilization rate) can affect fungal and mycotoxin contamination (deoxynivalenol and fumonisins B1 and B2) in maize at harvest. In addition, changes in maize during a simulated harvest-till-drying period were studied. DON content at harvest was higher for maize under intensive tillage than using direct drilling (2695 and 474 μg kg−1, respectively). We found two reasons for this: (i) soil crusting in intensive tillage plots caused the formation of pools of water that created high air humidity conditions, favouring the development of DON-producing moulds; (ii) the population of Lumbricus terrestris, an earthworm that would indirectly minimize fungal infection and mycotoxin production on maize kernels, is reduced in intensive tillage plots. Therefore, direct drilling is a better approach than intensive tillage for both preventing DON contamination and preserving soil quality. Concerning the simulated harvest-till-drying period, DON significantly increased between storage days 0 and 5. Water activity dropped on the 4th day, below the threshold for DON production (around 0.91). From our perspective, this study constitutes a step forward towards understanding the relationships between agronomic factors and mycotoxin contamination in maize, and towards improving food safety. Full article
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13 pages, 4104 KiB  
Article
Spaceflight Changes the Production and Bioactivity of Secondary Metabolites in Beauveria bassiana
by Youdan Zhang, Xiaochen Zhang, Jieming Zhang, Shaukat Ali and Jianhui Wu
Toxins 2022, 14(8), 555; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14080555 - 15 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1761
Abstract
Studies on microorganism response spaceflight date back to 1960. However, nothing conclusive is known concerning the effects of spaceflight on virulence and environmental tolerance of entomopathogenic fungi; thus, this area of research remains open to further exploration. In this study, the entomopathogenic fungus [...] Read more.
Studies on microorganism response spaceflight date back to 1960. However, nothing conclusive is known concerning the effects of spaceflight on virulence and environmental tolerance of entomopathogenic fungi; thus, this area of research remains open to further exploration. In this study, the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (strain SB010) was exposed to spaceflight (ChangZheng 5 space shuttle during 5 May 2020 to 8 May 2020) as a part of the Key Research and Development Program of Guangdong Province, China, in collaboration with the China Space Program. The study revealed significant differences between the secondary metabolite profiles of the wild isolate (SB010) and the spaceflight-exposed isolate (BHT021, BH030, BHT098) of B. bassiana. Some of the secondary metabolites/toxins, including enniatin A2, brevianamide F, macrosporin, aphidicolin, and diacetoxyscirpenol, were only produced by the spaceflight-exposed isolate (BHT021, BHT030). The study revealed increased insecticidal activities for of crude protein extracts of B. bassiana spaceflight mutants (BHT021 and BH030, respectively) against Megalurothrips usitatus 5 days post application when compared crude protein extracts of the wild isolate (SB010). The data obtained support the idea of using space mutation as a tool for development/screening of fungal strains producing higher quantities of secondary metabolites, ultimately leading to increased toxicity/virulence against the target insect host. Full article
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18 pages, 1491 KiB  
Article
Effects of Dietary Lanthanum Chloride on Growth Performance, Hematology and Serum Biochemistry of Juvenile Clarias gariepinus Catfish Fed Diets Amended with Mixtures of Aflatoxin B1 and Fumonisin B1
by Bolade Thomas Adeyemo, Ndidi Gloria Enefe, Tanimomo Babatunde Kayode, Augustina Ezekwesili, Olatunde Hamza Olabode, Audu Zakariya, Gbenga Michael Oladele, Samson Eneojo Abalaka, Wesley Daniel Nafarnda and Clement Barikuma Innocent Alawa
Toxins 2022, 14(8), 553; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14080553 - 14 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1629
Abstract
This study aimed to determine the effects of dietary lanthanum chloride on the growth and health performance of juvenile Clarias gariepinus when fed diets experimentally contaminated with mixtures of aflatoxin B1 and fumonisin B1. A control diet, (mycotoxin free, diet A), mycotoxin contaminated [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine the effects of dietary lanthanum chloride on the growth and health performance of juvenile Clarias gariepinus when fed diets experimentally contaminated with mixtures of aflatoxin B1 and fumonisin B1. A control diet, (mycotoxin free, diet A), mycotoxin contaminated (diet B), and two mycotoxin-contaminated diets amended with lanthanum chloride (200 mg/kg, diet C; and 400 mg/kg, diet D), were fed to 450 fish divided equally into five groups (each with three replicates) for 56 days. The fish were randomly sampled at the time points: day 7, 28 and day 56 for the zootechnical, hematological and serum biochemical evaluations. The fish fed the diets amended with lanthanum chloride exhibited significantly (p < 0.05) better performance indices compared with the fish fed only the mycotoxin-contaminated diet. Lanthanum chloride elicited significant (p < 0.05) increases in erythrocytes and leucocytes count and significant (p < 0.05) reduction in serum transaminase, alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase activities, urea and uric acid concentrations in the fish fed the diets contaminated with mixtures of aflatoxin B1 and fumonisin B1. The study indicates that juvenile Clarias gariepinus may be beneficially cultured with mycotoxin-contaminated grains amended with 200 to 400 mg/kg lanthanum chloride. Full article
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13 pages, 47232 KiB  
Article
Application of an In Vitro Digestion Model for Wheat and Red Beetroot Bread to Assess the Bioaccessibility of Aflatoxin B1, Ochratoxin A and Zearalenone and Betalains
by Paula Llorens Castelló, Ana Juan-García, Juan Carlos Moltó Cortés, Jordi Mañes Vinuesa and Cristina Juan García
Toxins 2022, 14(8), 540; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14080540 - 8 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1713
Abstract
Nowadays, the bakery industry includes different bioactive ingredients to enrich the nutritional properties of its products, such as betalains from red beetroot (Beta vulgaris). However, cereal products are considered a major route of exposure to many mycotoxins, both individually and in [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the bakery industry includes different bioactive ingredients to enrich the nutritional properties of its products, such as betalains from red beetroot (Beta vulgaris). However, cereal products are considered a major route of exposure to many mycotoxins, both individually and in combination, due to their daily consumption, if the cereals used contain these toxins. Only the fraction of the contaminant that is released from the food is bioaccessible and bioavailable to produce toxic effects. Foods with bioactive compounds vary widely in chemical structure and function, and some studies have demonstrated their protective effects against toxics. In this study the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of three legislated mycotoxins (AFB1, OTA and ZEN), individual and combined, in two breads, one with wheat flour and the other with wheat flour enriched with 20% Beta vulgaris, were evaluated. Bioaccessibility of these three mycotoxins from wheat bread and red beet bread enriched individually at 100 ng/g was similar between the breads: 16% and 14% for AFB1, 16% and 17% for OTA and 26% and 22% for ZEN, respectively. Whereas, when mycotoxins were co-present these values varied with a decreasing tendency: 9% and 15% for AFB1, 13% and 9% for OTA, 4% and 25% for ZEN in wheat bread and in red beet bread, respectively. These values reveal that the presence of other components and the co-presence of mycotoxins can affect the final bioavailability; however, it is necessary to assess this process with in vivo studies to complete the studies. Full article
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14 pages, 2819 KiB  
Article
Lethal and Sublethal Toxicity Assessment of Cyclosporin C (a Fungal Toxin) against Plutella xylostella (L.)
by Jianhui Wu, Xiaochen Zhang, Muhammad Hamid Bashir and Shaukat Ali
Toxins 2022, 14(8), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14080514 - 28 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1286
Abstract
Secondary metabolites/toxins produced by Purpeocillium lilacinum (Hypocreales; Phiocordycipitaceae), a well-known insect pathogen, can be used for the management of different insect pests. We report the lethal and sublethal effects of cyclosporin C (a toxin produced by P. lilacinum) against a major vegetable [...] Read more.
Secondary metabolites/toxins produced by Purpeocillium lilacinum (Hypocreales; Phiocordycipitaceae), a well-known insect pathogen, can be used for the management of different insect pests. We report the lethal and sublethal effects of cyclosporin C (a toxin produced by P. lilacinum) against a major vegetable pest, Plutella xylostella, at specific organismal (feeding rate, larval growth, adult emergence, fecundity, and adult longevity) and sub-organismal levels (changes in antioxidant and neurophysiological enzyme activities). The toxicity of cyclosporin C against different larval instars of P. xylostella increased with increasing concentrations of the toxin and the maximum percent mortality rates for different P. xylostella larval instars at different times were observed for the 300 µg/mL cyclosporin C treatment, with an average mortality rate of 100% for all larval instars. The median lethal concentrations (LC50) of cyclosporin C against the first, second, third, and fourth larval instars of P. xylostella 72 h post-treatment were 78.05, 60.42, 50.83, and 83.05 μg/mL, respectively. Different concentrations of cyclosporin C caused a reduction in the average leaf consumption and average larval weight. Different life history parameters, such as the pupation rate (%), adult emergence (%), female fecundity, and female longevity were also inhibited when different concentrations of cyclosporin C were applied topically. The cyclosporin C concentrations inhibited the activities of different detoxifying (glutathione S-transferase, carboxylesterase, and acetylcholinesterase) and antioxidant enzyme (superoxide dismutase, catalase, and peroxidase) activities of P. xylostella when compared to the control. These findings can serve as baseline information for the development of cyclosporin C as an insect control agent, although further work on mass production, formulation, and field application is still required. Full article
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15 pages, 2150 KiB  
Article
Exploration of Mycotoxin Accumulation and Transcriptomes of Different Wheat Cultivars during Fusarium graminearum Infection
by Kailin Li, Dianzhen Yu, Zheng Yan, Na Liu, Yingying Fan, Cheng Wang and Aibo Wu
Toxins 2022, 14(7), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14070482 - 13 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1799
Abstract
Fusarium graminearum is one of the most devastating diseases of wheat worldwide, and can cause Fusarium head blight (FHB). F. graminearum infection and mycotoxin production mainly present in wheat and can be influenced by environmental factors and wheat cultivars. The objectives of this [...] Read more.
Fusarium graminearum is one of the most devastating diseases of wheat worldwide, and can cause Fusarium head blight (FHB). F. graminearum infection and mycotoxin production mainly present in wheat and can be influenced by environmental factors and wheat cultivars. The objectives of this study were to examine the effect of wheat cultivars and interacting conditions of temperature and water activity (aw) on mycotoxin production by two strains of F. graminearum and investigate the response mechanisms of different wheat cultivars to F. graminearum infection. In this regard, six cultivars of wheat spikes under field conditions and three cultivars of post-harvest wheat grains under three different temperature conditions combined with five water activity (aw) conditions were used for F. graminearum infection in our studies. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) analysis showed significant differences in the concentration of Fusarium mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON) and its derivative deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside (D3G) resulting from wheat cultivars and environmental factors. Transcriptome profiles of wheat infected with F. graminearum revealed the lower expression of disease defense-factor-related genes, such as mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK)-encoding genes and hypersensitivity response (HR)-related genes of infected Annong 0711 grains compared with infected Sumai 3 grains. These findings demonstrated the optimal temperature and air humidity resulting in mycotoxin accumulation, which will be beneficial in determining the conditions of the relative level of risk of contamination with FHB and mycotoxins. More importantly, our transcriptome profiling illustrated differences at the molecular level between wheat cultivars with different FHB resistances, which will lay the foundation for further research on mycotoxin biosynthesis of F. graminearum and regulatory mechanisms of wheat to F. graminearum. Full article
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13 pages, 4167 KiB  
Article
Occurrence of Mycotoxins and Toxigenic Fungi in Cereals and Application of Yeast Volatiles for Their Biological Control
by Asma Alkuwari, Zahoor Ul Hassan, Randa Zeidan, Roda Al-Thani and Samir Jaoua
Toxins 2022, 14(6), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14060404 - 13 Jun 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2671
Abstract
Fungal infections in cereals lead to huge economic losses in the food and agriculture industries. This study was designed to investigate the occurrence of toxigenic fungi and their mycotoxins in marketed cereals and explore the effect of the antagonistic yeast Cyberlindnera jadinii volatiles [...] Read more.
Fungal infections in cereals lead to huge economic losses in the food and agriculture industries. This study was designed to investigate the occurrence of toxigenic fungi and their mycotoxins in marketed cereals and explore the effect of the antagonistic yeast Cyberlindnera jadinii volatiles against key toxigenic fungal strains. Aspergillus spp. were the most frequent contaminating fungi in the cereals, with an isolation frequency (Fr) of 100% in maize, followed by wheat (88.23%), rice (78.57%) and oats (14.28%). Morphological and molecular identification confirmed the presence of key toxigenic fungal strains in cereal samples, including A. carbonarius, A. flavus, A. niger, A. ochraceus and A. parasiticus. Aflatoxins (AFs) were detected in all types of tested cereal samples, with a significantly higher level in maize compared to wheat, rice, oats and breakfast cereals. Ochratoxin A (OTA) was only detected in wheat, rice and maize samples. Levels of mycotoxins in cereals were within EU permissible limits. The volatiles of Cyberlindnera jadinii significantly inhibited the growth of A. parasiticus, A. niger and P. verrucosum. The findings of this study confirm the presence of toxigenic fungi and mycotoxins in cereals within the EU permissible limits and the significant biocontrol ability of Cyberlindnera jadinii against these toxigenic fungi. Full article
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14 pages, 3314 KiB  
Article
Genotoxicity of 12 Mycotoxins by the SOS/umu Test: Comparison of Liver and Kidney S9 Fraction
by Maria Alonso-Jauregui, Elena González-Peñas, Adela López de Cerain and Ariane Vettorazzi
Toxins 2022, 14(6), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14060400 - 10 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1860
Abstract
Liver S9 fraction is usually employed in mutagenicity/genotoxicity in vitro assays, but some genotoxic compounds may need another type of bioactivation. In the present work, an alternative S9 fraction from the kidneys was used for the genotoxicity assessment of 12 mycotoxins with the [...] Read more.
Liver S9 fraction is usually employed in mutagenicity/genotoxicity in vitro assays, but some genotoxic compounds may need another type of bioactivation. In the present work, an alternative S9 fraction from the kidneys was used for the genotoxicity assessment of 12 mycotoxins with the SOS/umu test. The results were compared with liver S9 fraction, and 2–4 independent experiments were performed with each mycotoxin. The expected results were obtained with positive controls (4-nitroquinoline-N-oxide and 2-aminoanthracene) without metabolic activation or with liver S9, but a potent dose-dependent effect with 4-nitroquinoline-N-oxide and no activity of 2-aminoanthracene with kidney S9 were noticed. Aflatoxin B1 was genotoxic with metabolic activation, the effect being greater with liver S9. Sterigmatocystin was clearly genotoxic with liver S9 but equivocal with kidney S9. Ochratoxin A, zearalenone and fumonisin B1 were negative in all conditions. Trichothecenes were negative, except for nivalenol, 3-acetyldeoxynivalenol, 15-acetyldeoxynivalenol, T-2 and HT-2 toxins, which showed equivocal results with kidney S9 because a clear dose-response effect was not observed. Most of the mycotoxins have been assessed with kidney S9 and the SOS/umu test for the first time here. The results with the positive controls and the mycotoxins confirm that the organ used for the S9 fraction preparation has an influence on the genotoxic activity of some compounds. Full article
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Review

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22 pages, 9151 KiB  
Review
The Growing Importance of Three-Dimensional Models and Microphysiological Systems in the Assessment of Mycotoxin Toxicity
by Veronica Zingales, Maria Rosaria Esposito, Noemi Torriero, Mercedes Taroncher, Elisa Cimetta and María-José Ruiz
Toxins 2023, 15(7), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15070422 - 29 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1602
Abstract
Current investigations in the field of toxicology mostly rely on 2D cell cultures and animal models. Although well-accepted, the traditional 2D cell-culture approach has evident drawbacks and is distant from the in vivo microenvironment. To overcome these limitations, increasing efforts have been made [...] Read more.
Current investigations in the field of toxicology mostly rely on 2D cell cultures and animal models. Although well-accepted, the traditional 2D cell-culture approach has evident drawbacks and is distant from the in vivo microenvironment. To overcome these limitations, increasing efforts have been made in the development of alternative models that can better recapitulate the in vivo architecture of tissues and organs. Even though the use of 3D cultures is gaining popularity, there are still open questions on their robustness and standardization. In this review, we discuss the current spheroid culture and organ-on-a-chip techniques as well as the main conceptual and technical considerations for the correct establishment of such models. For each system, the toxicological functional assays are then discussed, highlighting their major advantages, disadvantages, and limitations. Finally, a focus on the applications of 3D cell culture for mycotoxin toxicity assessments is provided. Given the known difficulties in defining the safety ranges of exposure for regulatory agency policies, we are confident that the application of alternative methods may greatly improve the overall risk assessment. Full article
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