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'Masked' mold toxins in food should be included in safety regulations

Date:
February 13, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Government limits on mold toxins present naturally in grain crops should be expanded to include so-called "masked mycotoxins" that change from harmless to potentially harmful forms in the body, a new study concludes.
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Government limits on mold toxins present naturally in grain crops should be expanded to include so-called "masked mycotoxins" that change from harmless to potentially harmful forms in the body, a new study concludes. It appears in ACS' journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

Chiara Dall'Asta and colleagues explain that molds growing naturally on wheat, corn and other plants produce toxic substances termed mycotoxins. Some health experts regard mycotoxins as the most serious chronic dietary risk factor, greater than the potential health threats from pesticides and insecticides. Government regulations thus limit levels of mycotoxins that are permissible in food and animal feed. Plants protect themselves by binding or "conjugating" glucose, sulfur or other substances to the mycotoxin, producing conjugated mycotoxins that are not harmful.

Dall'Asta explains that these "masked mycotoxins" are not included in current safety regulations because of uncertainty about what happens when people and animals eat them. The new study focused on two of the most widespread mycotoxin contaminants of grain crops -- deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN). The authors say their results show, for the first time, that bacteria present in the large intestine in people deconjugate or "unmask" DON and ZEN, releasing the original toxic forms. "For this reason, masked mycotoxins should be considered when evaluating population exposure," the study concludes.


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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.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrea Dall’Erta, Martina Cirlini, Margherita Dall’Asta, Daniele Del Rio, Gianni Galaverna, Chiara Dall’Asta. Masked Mycotoxins Are Efficiently Hydrolyzed by Human Colonic Microbiota Releasing Their Aglycones. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2013; 130212100936002 DOI: 10.1021/tx300438c

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American Chemical Society. "'Masked' mold toxins in food should be included in safety regulations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213132330.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2013, February 13). 'Masked' mold toxins in food should be included in safety regulations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213132330.htm
American Chemical Society. "'Masked' mold toxins in food should be included in safety regulations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213132330.htm (accessed May 28, 2015).

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