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Fungus Among Us: Invisible Micropollutants Invade Crops, Water Supply

Date:
February 6, 2008
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
They're here, there, and everywhere: Toxins produced by a common fungus are spreading beyond food crops and invading the environment, including water supplies, with unknown consequences, researchers in Switzerland report. Their study reveals a need for stronger monitoring and control of these overlooked micropollutants.

They're here, there, and everywhere: Toxins produced by a common fungus are spreading beyond food crops and invading the environment, including water supplies, with unknown consequences, researchers in Switzerland report. Their study reveals a need for stronger monitoring and control of these overlooked "micropollutants."

The contaminants are members of a larger family fungal-produced toxins called mycotoxins. In the report, Thomas Bucheli and colleagues note that scientists have studied two of the most common mycotoxins -- deoxynivalenol and zearalenone -- in food and animal feed products for decades. However, scientists know very little about the distribution of these toxins elsewhere in the environment.

In the new study, the researchers exposed a winter wheat field to Fusarium graminearum, a major fungal source of deoxynivalenol and zearalenone, and subsequently monitored these toxins in the field's drainage water before, during and after harvest. Using high-tech lab instruments, they found that levels of these toxins increased significantly after harvest. Levels of deoxynivalenol, for instance, rose by almost 4,000-fold. Traces of these toxins were also found in a number of Swiss rivers, they note.

The study "Fusarium Mycotoxins: Overlooked Aquatic Micropollutants?" is scheduled for the Feb. 13 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf073082k


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Fungus Among Us: Invisible Micropollutants Invade Crops, Water Supply." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204110508.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2008, February 6). Fungus Among Us: Invisible Micropollutants Invade Crops, Water Supply. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204110508.htm
American Chemical Society. "Fungus Among Us: Invisible Micropollutants Invade Crops, Water Supply." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204110508.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

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