Category Archives: Alternaria Toxin

Research – Occurrence of Aflatoxins and Ochratoxin a during Merkén Pepper Powder Production in Chile



Berry fruits of Capsicum annuum L. cv. “Cacho de Cabra” are used for the manufacture of a traditional pepper powder known as Merkén. In the present study, aflatoxins (AFs) and ochratoxin A (OTA) contamination in berry fruits of C. annuum was determined at harvest, drying, and smoking stages of Merkén production, in cumin and coriander seeds used as Merkén ingredients, and in the final packaged Merkén produced by local farmers. Additionally, Merkén samples from local markets in the region of La Araucanía (Chile) were also evaluated. Chromatographic analysis was based on a qualitative method. AFs and OTA were not detected on pepper pods and seeds. There was no detection of AFs and OTA on cultured Aspergillus and Penicillium strains isolated from pepper pods, cumin and coriander seeds and Merkén. The lack of AFs/OTA-producers among the isolated fungal species can explain and support the absence of contamination in pepper pods. In contrast, the AFB1 was detected in 75% of Merkén obtained from farmers and 46% of Merkén samples purchased from local markets; while OTA was detected in 100% of Merkén samples obtained from farmers and local markets. In the Merkén production chain, the harvest and post-harvest are key stages for fungal growth while the commercialization stage is highly susceptible to AFs and OTA contamination.

Research – Straw Can Pose Mycotoxin Risk in Dairy Heifer Diets

Dairy Herd

Straw is a common, high-fiber, low-energy ingredient in U.S. dairy heifer rations. While we normally monitor grain quality to watch for harmful mycotoxins, it turns out straw can carry its own mycotoxin risk, according to a recent feed quality evaluation by Alltech, Inc.

Each year, Alltech conducts comprehensive mycotoxin testing programs in the U.S., Canada, and Europe to assess the mycotoxin risk in newly harvested grain crops. For the first time this year, wheat and barley straw were added to the sampling in Europe.

Danish farmers were worried about the damaging effects of wet weather both pre- and post-harvest. Because excessive moisture delayed straw harvest, the crops lay in the field for extended periods, damaging quality and fueling mold contamination.

A total of 70 straw samples from Denmark were evaluated. Deoxynivalenol (DON) was identified in 84% of samples, and emerging mycotoxins were found in 70% of samples. All told, 95% of samples contained some form of mycotoxin, with 50% containing two or more.

According a bulletin on mycotoxins in forage shared by the University of Wisconsin, DON may be a marker for other mycotoxins in contaminated feeds. When young dairy animals consume mycotoxins, they can be at risk for feed refusals, diarrhea, and immunosuppression. Additionally, mycotoxin-induced outcomes may be vague, and include unthriftiness, rough haircoat, poor body condition, and reproductive problems.

Alltech technical advisor and veterinarian, Dr. Radka Boutova, DVM, suggested adding straw to the list of feedstuffs that are screened for mycotoxins if it is a commonly used ingredient in a young stock ration. This is particularly important if the straw crop was stressed and/or delayed in the field due to unfavorable weather conditions, or for any straw that shows visible signs of mold.

Research – Protecting businesses and consumers from Mycotoxin contamination.- Infographic


RASFF Alert – Mycotoxin – Alternaria Toxins –


Alternaria toxins in tomato paste from Italy in Germany