Category Archives: Fumonsins

Research – Human Pathogens in Primary Production Systems


Human pathogenic micro-organisms can contaminate plants. Plants whose products can be consumed freshly or after minimal processing are of specific concern. It is under debate whether contaminations only occur at harvest or the after harvest processing of crops, or if they can already occur at the primary plant production stages.
Plants may be considered as secondary habitats for human pathogens [1], and, although they do not possess the full capacity to invade and colonize internal tissues of plants, like plant pathogens and endophytes do [2], they are still capable of maintaining themselves in the neighborhood of, and even inside, plants [3], and to proliferate in these ecosystems. Human pathogens can respond to chemical signals from plants [4] and, from that perspective, human pathogens may share properties with other micro-organisms commonly present in plant microbiomes. From an evolutionary perspective, it make sense that particular groups of zoonotic species are able to use plants as secondary habitats. These microbes can be transferred via feces among different flocks that graze on the same land [5]. Longer persistence on grazed plants may contribute to a wider distribution over different flocks. It is an important message for plant production that microbial interconnectivity will exist between ecosystems and that human pathogens can circulate between animals and plants when animal manure is applied to soil for fertilization [6]. Water used for irrigation is another human pathogen source in agricultural production systems, especially when derived from surface water bodies [7]. Human pathogens can contaminate surface water via drainage from arable fields recently fertilized with animal manure [8], but also from sewage overflow after severe precipitation [9] and wildlife [10].
The contamination of plant-derived products with human pathogens thus does not only result from harvest and post-harvest handlings, but can also occur at the primary production stage. The network activities of the EU COST Action on the control of human pathogens in plant production systems (HUPLANTcontrol) comprehended important aspects that were intended to gain a better understanding on the role of human pathogens in plant microbiomes in relation to ecology, taxonomical identity, and presumed virulence to humans. This information was relevant for the formulation of recommendations and guidelines to growers, but also to provide public information on the consequences of the presence of human pathogens in plant production systems. This Special Issue was dedicated to the main objectives of our network activities and resulted in seven manuscripts that are related to the topic of human pathogens in their relationship with plants.
It was shown that Escherichia coli, introduced via manure and seeds in production systems, had a higher preference for the root zone (roots and rhizosphere soil) than for the above-soil compartments [11,12]. Although different E. coli strains were incidentally found in stem parts shortly after their introduction, their abundance rapidly declined to levels below detection, whereas near, on, and inside roots, the introduced strains remained present up to plant senescence. As both experiments were performed under field-realistic circumstances, the key message derived from both manuscripts is critical for practice, because it would imply that plant roots are potential carriers of human pathogens once they are disseminated into production systems via external sources. The ability for microbial species to jump over from plant to animal kingdoms was indicated for two taxonomically distinct micro-organisms, Fusarium musae [13] and Bacillus cereus [14]. Namely, F. musae strains with the same genetic profile could infect both humans and plants (banana fruit), whereas B. cereus strains derived from 17 different agricultural soils sampled across Europe possessed genes that are potentially involved in human pathogenicity. Both studies made clear that human pathogens in plant production systems do not necessarily originate from external sources, but can be intrinsic members of soil and plant ecosystems. Soil treatment with composted sewage sludge resulted in a shift in the soil microbiome composition [15]. Salmonella enterica survived longer when simultaneously applied with composted sewage sludge to soil than when applied separately via irrigation. Changes in microbiomes as a result of soil amendments may thus influence the persistence of human pathogens in food production soils, and this information is relevant for understanding the mechanisms behind the soil persistence of human pathogens. Finally, it revealed that plants themselves can influence the behavior of human pathogens. Upon plant inoculation, flagellin expression was down-regulated in a vast majority of S. enterica cells, whereas high expression was found in a subfraction of the introduced population [16]. Heterogenous flagellin expression is an adaptational strategy of S. enterica inside plants. Plants defend themselves upon colonization by human pathogens via activating defensive networks [17]. Bioactive compounds produced by plants antagonize human pathogens in plants, offering new opportunities for the control of human pathogens in plant production systems.
The seven manuscripts in this Special Issue provide new and important information on the ecological behavior of human pathogens in the plant–soil environment and the roles that microbiomes play. They also demonstrated that plant microbiomes themselves harbor species that can potentially cross plant–animal frontiers and that the plant environment is a specific ecosystem where human pathogens are able to adapt to local prevailing circumstances. Valuable information was provided for further translation into practical recommendations, which is needed for the control of human pathogens in, or nearby, growing plants. Finally, the information provided is relevant for the transition towards extensive and circular agricultural production systems. The use of animal manure and other organic waste streams and reclaimed water as alternatives for fertilizers and irrigation water will become more opportune in this transition, affecting the introduction of human pathogens into plant production systems.

Composition-Based Risk Estimation of Mycotoxins in Dry Dog Foods



The risk of mycotoxins co-occurrence in extrusion-produced dry foods increases due to their composition based on various grains and vegetables. This study aimed to validate a risk estimation for the association between ingredients and the ELISA-detected levels of DON, FUM, ZEA, AFs, T2, and OTA in 34 dry dog food products. The main ingredients were corn, beet, and oil of different origins (of equal frequency, 79.41%), rice (67.6%), and wheat (50%). DON and FUM had the strongest positive correlation (0.635, = 0.001). The presence of corn in the sample composition increased the median DON and ZEA levels, respectively, by 99.45 μg/kg and 65.64 μg/kg, p = 0.011. In addition to DON and ZEA levels, integral corn presence increased the FUM median levels by 886.61 μg/kg, = 0.005. For corn gluten flour-containing samples, DON, FUM, and ZEA median differences still existed, and OTA levels also differed by 1.99 μg/kg, < 0.001. Corn gluten flour presence was strongly associated with DON levels >403.06 μg/kg (OR = 38.4, RR = 9.90, = 0.002), FUM levels >1097.56 μg/kg (OR = 5.56, RR = 1.45, = 0.048), ZEA levels >136.88 μg/kg (OR = 23.00, RR = 3.09, = 0.002), and OTA levels >3.93 μg/kg (OR = 24.00, RR = 3.09, = 0.002). Our results suggest that some ingredients or combinations should be avoided due to their risk of increasing mycotoxin levels.

Research – From Aflatoxin to Zearalenone: Mycotoxins You Should Know – Deoxynivalenol (DON)


Mycotoxins are substances produced by fungi that infect grain crops like maize and small grains and cause ear and kernel rots. Exposure to mycotoxins can lead to chronic or acute toxicity in humans and animals. In addition, mycotoxins can lead to market losses, discounts, rejection of grain lots at elevators, and a reduction in livestock efficiency and productivity.

The most economically important mycotoxins include aflatoxins (AF), deoxynivalenol (DON, also known as vomitoxin), fumonisins (FUM), zearalenone (ZEA), ochratoxin A (OTA), T2, HT-2, ergot alkaloids, and patulin (PAT). The fungal species that produce mycotoxins have worldwide distribution; therefore, mycotoxin contamination occurs everywhere grain crops are grown. Accordingly, mycotoxins have been detected in feed, silage, food, and beverages derived from cereal grains and animal products exposed to contaminated feed.

RASFF Alert – Mycotoxins – Fumonisins – Popcorn


Fumonisins in popcorn from Argentina from Poland

Research – How do Time, Tannin and Moisture Content Influence on Toxicogenic Fungal Populations during the Storage of Sorghum Grains?

Journal of Food Protection

Cereal grains are usually ensiled to improve their nutritional value and are one of the main sources of feed for dairy cattle. However, during storage, grains can be contaminated with toxicogenic fungi. Sorghum is one of the most economically important cereals in the world. Therefore, the aim of this work was to evaluate the influence of storage duration and tannin and moisture contents on toxicogenic fungal populations in sorghum grain storage. Samples were prepared with variety high in tannins (genotypes Morgan 108 and ACA 558, >5g/kg DM) and with variety low tannin content (genotypes Flash 10 and ACA 546, <1g/kg DM) were collected and manually compacted in experimental laboratory silos where they received different moisture content treatments, namely low (15-25%), medium (26-32%) and high (33-42%). Freshly harvest grains were analyzed at time 0 and storage grains were analyzed at different times (30, 90 and 180 days). Fungal isolation and identification were performed following conventional mycological methods. Penicillium citrinum (34%), Aspergillus flavus (60%) and Fusarium nygamai (68%) were the most abundant species. Rapid detection of aflatoxins and fumonisins in each sample was performed by ELISA according to the AOAC method, and the quantification of aflatoxin B 1 was performed by HPLC. Aflatoxins were detected in four samples with levels of 6.7-28.8 µg/kg and aflatoxin B 1 with a level of 2-14 µg/kg in pre- and post-storage grains . Fumonisins were only detected in two freshly harvested samples with levels of 500-900 µg/kg . In general, the storage time favored the increase of Penicillium population, instead the Aspergillus and Fusarium are reduced. Conversely the abundance of the three population was not affected by the moisture content. The results of this study show that fungal population must be analyzed at different times.

RASFF Alert – Mycotoxin – Fumonisins – Cornmeal


Fumonisins in cornmeal from Peru in Spain

RASFF Alert – Mycotoxins – Fumonsins – Maize Flour


Fumonisins in maize flour from Portugal in Luxembourg

Luxembourg – YELLOW CORN FLOUR – Mycotoxin – Fumonsins


Last name Yellow corn flour type 100
Brand Matias
Unity 500 g
Use by date (DLC) ABR 22
Lot 070621D2

Hazard description: Fumonisins

Fumonisins are toxins formed by molds of the genus Fusarium on corn under certain climatic conditions. Fumonisins are classified as “possible carcinogenic” to humans.

Sale in Luxembourg by: Primavera

A sale by other operators cannot be excluded.

Source of information: Official control

Communicated by: Government Commission for Quality, Fraud and Food Safety .

Research – Mycotoxins Affecting Animals, Foods, Humans, and Plants: Types, Occurrence, Toxicities, Action Mechanisms, Prevention, and Detoxification Strategies—A Revisit


CDC Fusarium1

Mycotoxins are produced by fungi and are known to be toxic to humans and animals. Common mycotoxins include aflatoxins, ochratoxins, zearalenone, patulin, sterigmatocystin, citrinin, ergot alkaloids, deoxynivalenol, fumonisins, trichothecenes, Alternaria toxins, tremorgenic mycotoxins, fusarins, 3-nitropropionic acid, cyclochlorotine, sporidesmin, etc. These mycotoxins can pose several health risks to both animals and humans, including death. As several mycotoxins simultaneously occur in nature, especially in foods and feeds, the detoxification and/or total removal of mycotoxins remains challenging. Moreover, given that the volume of scientific literature regarding mycotoxins is steadily on the rise, there is need for continuous synthesis of the body of knowledge. To supplement existing information, knowledge of mycotoxins affecting animals, foods, humans, and plants, with more focus on types, toxicity, and prevention measures, including strategies employed in detoxification and removal, were revisited in this work. Our synthesis revealed that mycotoxin decontamination, control, and detoxification strategies cut across pre-and post-harvest preventive measures. In particular, pre-harvest measures can include good agricultural practices, fertilization/irrigation, crop rotation, using resistant varieties of crops, avoiding insect damage, early harvesting, maintaining adequate humidity, and removing debris from the preceding harvests. On the other hand, post-harvest measures can include processing, chemical, biological, and physical measures. Additionally, chemical-based methods and other emerging strategies for mycotoxin detoxification can involve the usage of chitosan, ozone, nanoparticles, and plant extracts. View Full-Text

Spain – Mycotoxin update on the Hazard Map


In the Hazard Map database, we have updated all the sheets corresponding to the mycotoxins of the chemical hazards block:

  • Aflatoxins
  • Ochratoxins
  • Zearalenone
  • Deoxynivalenol
  • Fumonisins
  • Trichothecenes T-2 and HT2
  • Patulin

Mycotoxins are products of fungal metabolism and their ingestion, inhalation or skin absorption can cause disease or death in animals and people. The most important mycotoxins are produced by molds of the genera Aspergillus , Penicillium and Fusarium .

Among the most common mycotoxins are aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin, fumonisins, zearanelone, deoxynivalenol, and T-2 and HT-2 toxins.