Special Issue "Fungal Growth and Mycotoxins: Challenges for developing countries"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Sarah De Saeger
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Bioanalysis, Centre of Excellence in Mycotoxicology and Public Health, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
2. Faculty of Science, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. J. David Miller
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Professors Sarah De Saeger and J. David Miller are planning a Special Issue of Toxins for publication in April 2019 on the theme of mycotoxins, public health, and trade in developing regions. There has been recent attention to mycotoxin issues in the most challenged regions, that is, much of Africa and parts of East Asia and Latin America. Over the past four decades, there have also been success stories where mycotoxin contaminations have been reduced, even in risk areas such as in China, some ASEAN and Latin American countries. The hope is to illuminate situations all over the world reflecting both challenges and opportunities.

Prof. Dr. Sarah De Saeger
Prof. Dr. J. David Miller
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • mycotoxins in emerging and post-emerging economies
  • public health
  • agriculture
  • successes
  • challenges

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Molecular Characterisation of Aflatoxigenic and Non-Aflatoxigenic Strains of Aspergillus Section Flavi Isolated from Imported Peanuts along the Supply Chain in Malaysia
Toxins 2019, 11(9), 501; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins11090501 - 29 Aug 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1648
Abstract
Peanuts are widely consumed in many local dishes in southeast Asian countries, especially in Malaysia which is one of the major peanut-importing countries in this region. Therefore, Aspergillus spp. and aflatoxin contamination in peanuts during storage are becoming major concerns due to the [...] Read more.
Peanuts are widely consumed in many local dishes in southeast Asian countries, especially in Malaysia which is one of the major peanut-importing countries in this region. Therefore, Aspergillus spp. and aflatoxin contamination in peanuts during storage are becoming major concerns due to the tropical weather in this region that favours the growth of aflatoxigenic fungi. The present study thus aimed to molecularly identify and characterise the Aspergillus section Flavi isolated from imported peanuts in Malaysia. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and β-tubulin sequences were used to confirm the species and determine the phylogenetic relationship among the isolates, while aflatoxin biosynthesis genes (aflR, aflP (omtA), aflD (nor-1), aflM (ver-1), and pksA) were targeted in a multiplex PCR to determine the toxigenic potential. A total of 76 and one isolates were confirmed as A. flavus and A. tamarii, respectively. The Maximum Likelihood (ML) phylogenetic tree resolved the species into two different clades in which all A. flavus (both aflatoxigenic and non-aflatoxigenic) were grouped in the same clade and A. tamarii was grouped in a different clade. The aflatoxin biosynthesis genes were detected in all aflatoxigenic A. flavus while the non-aflatoxigenic A. flavus failed to amplify at least one of the genes. The results indicated that both aflatoxigenic and non-aflatoxigenic A. flavus could survive in imported peanuts and, thus, appropriate storage conditions preferably with low temperature should be considered to avoid the re-emergence of aflatoxigenic A. flavus and the subsequent aflatoxin production in peanuts during storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Growth and Mycotoxins: Challenges for developing countries)
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Article
Analysis of Mycotoxins Contamination in Poultry Feeds Manufactured in Selected Provinces of South Africa Using UHPLC-MS/MS
Toxins 2019, 11(8), 452; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins11080452 - 02 Aug 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1742
Abstract
A total of 105 different types of poultry feed samples from South Africa were simultaneously analysed for the presence of 16 mycotoxins using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer (UHPLC-MS/MS). The data revealed the presence of 16 mycotoxins in [...] Read more.
A total of 105 different types of poultry feed samples from South Africa were simultaneously analysed for the presence of 16 mycotoxins using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer (UHPLC-MS/MS). The data revealed the presence of 16 mycotoxins in the various poultry feed samples. Fumonisin B1 (FB1) was the most dominant recovered from 100% of samples analysed at concentrations ranging between 38.7 and 7125.3 µg/kg. This was followed by zearalenone (ZEN) (range: 0.1–429 µg/kg) and deoxynivalenol (DON) (range: 2.5–154 µg/kg). Samples were also found to be contaminated with fumonisin B2 (FB2) (range: 0.7–125.1 µg/kg), fumonisin B3 (FB3) (range: 0.1–125.1 µg/kg), α-zearalenol (α-ZEL) (range: 0.6–20 µg/kg ), β-zearalenol (β-ZEL) (range: 0.2–22.1 µg/kg), 3-acetyldeoxynivalenol (3-ADON) (range: 0.1–12.9 µg/kg) and 15-acetyldeoxynivalenol (15-ADON) (range: 1.7–41.9 µg/kg). Alternaria mycotoxin, i.e., Alternariol monomethyl ether (AME) was recovered in 100% of samples at concentrations that ranged from 0.3–155.5 µg/kg. Aflatoxins (AFs) had an incidence rate of 92% with generally low concentration levels ranging from 0.1–3.7 µg/kg. Apart from these metabolites, 2 type A trichothecenes (THs), i.e., HT-2 toxin (HT-2) (range: 0.2–5.9 µg/kg) and T-2 toxin (T-2) (range: 0.1–15.3 µg/kg) were also detected. Mycotoxin contamination in South African poultry feed constitutes a concern as correspondingly high contamination levels, such as those observed herein are likely to affect birds, which can be accompanied by severe health implications, thus compromising animal productivity in the country. Such exposures, primarily to more than one mycotoxin concurrently, may elicit noticeable synergistic and or additive effects on poultry birds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Growth and Mycotoxins: Challenges for developing countries)
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Article
Long Term Monitoring (2014–2018) of Multi-Mycotoxins in South African Commercial Maize and Wheat with a Locally Developed and Validated LC-MS/MS Method
Toxins 2019, 11(5), 271; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins11050271 - 14 May 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1460
Abstract
Mycotoxins occur worldwide in the major grains, and producers, traders and processors are all challenged to prevent serious health problems for consumers. The challenges originate with pre-harvest fungi infections in the grain fields, increased contamination during improper storage and, finally, the mycotoxin accumulation [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins occur worldwide in the major grains, and producers, traders and processors are all challenged to prevent serious health problems for consumers. The challenges originate with pre-harvest fungi infections in the grain fields, increased contamination during improper storage and, finally, the mycotoxin accumulation in commercial food and feed products. Little is known about the multi-mycotoxin occurrence in maize and wheat commercially produced in South Africa. This is the first comprehensive study that reports on the multi-mycotoxin occurrence in South African produced maize and wheat crops after harvest, over four production seasons, in all the production regions of the country. The study was made possible with the development of a fit-for-purpose, cost-effective LC-MS/MS multi-mycotoxin method, validated for 13 “regulated” mycotoxins. A low mycotoxin risk was found in South African produced wheat, with only deoxynivalenol (DON) in 12.5% of the 160 samples at levels well below the 2000 µg/kg South African (SA) regulatory level. It was concluded that aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is seldom present in South African produced commercial maize. The concentrations, regional variation and seasonal trends of deoxynivalenol and fumonisins, the two most prevalent mycotoxins, and of zearalenone (ZON), are reported for white and yellow maize in all the production provinces, based on the analytical results of 1400 maize samples. A threefold to eightfold increase in deoxynivalenol mean concentrations in white maize was observed in the main production regions in the fourth season, with 8.9% samples above 2000 µg/kg. A strong correlation was found between higher deoxynivalenol concentrations and the presence of 15-acetyl-deoxynivalenol (15-ADON). The mean fumonisin concentrations were well below the 4000 µg/kg South African regulatory value. A possible shift in the incidence and severity of mycotoxigenic Fusarium spp. in the provinces must be investigated. The variations and trends highlight the importance of a continuous monitoring of multi-mycotoxins in South Africa along the grain value chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Growth and Mycotoxins: Challenges for developing countries)
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Article
Assessment of Aflatoxin and Fumonisin Contamination and Associated Risk Factors in Feed and Feed Ingredients in Rwanda
Toxins 2019, 11(5), 270; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins11050270 - 14 May 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2006
Abstract
Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites that contaminate crops, food, and animal feeds. Aflatoxins and fumonisins are among the mycotoxins that have been increasingly reported to affect health and productivity of livestock globally. Given that the health and productivity of livestock can directly influence human [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites that contaminate crops, food, and animal feeds. Aflatoxins and fumonisins are among the mycotoxins that have been increasingly reported to affect health and productivity of livestock globally. Given that the health and productivity of livestock can directly influence human food safety and security, a study was conducted to assess the levels and factors for aflatoxin and fumonisin contamination in feed and feed ingredients in Rwanda. Aflatoxins and fumonisins were analyzed in 3328 feed and feed ingredient samples collected at six time points between March and October 2017 in all 30 districts of Rwanda. Of the 612 participants providing samples, there were 10 feed processors, 68 feed vendors, 225 dairy farmers, and 309 poultry farmers. Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) was used for aflatoxin and fumonisin analyses. Mean aflatoxin levels of 108.83 µg/kg (Median (MD): 43.65 µg/kg), 103.81µg/kg (MD: 48.4 µg/kg), 88.64 µg/kg (MD: 30.90 µg/kg), and 94.95 µg/kg (MD: 70.45 µg/kg) were determined for dairy farmers, poultry farmers, feed vendors, and feed processors, respectively. Mean fumonisin levels were 1.52 mg/kg (MD: 0.71 mg/kg), 1.21 mg/kg (MD: 0.56 mg/kg), 1.48 mg/kg (MD: 0.76 mg/kg), and 1.03 mg/kg (MD: 0.47 mg/kg) for dairy farmers, poultry farmers, feed vendors, and feed processors, respectively. Aflatoxin contamination was significantly affected by time of sampling and district from which feed samples originated (p < 0.05). Fumonisins did not show any correlation trends. Ninety-two percent of survey participants were unaware of aflatoxins and fumonisins and their adverse effects. This study has provided the basic understanding of the extent of feed contamination across the country and has established a baseline for future interventions in Rwanda. Further studies are needed to explore strategies for mitigating mycotoxins in the feed value chain in Rwanda. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Growth and Mycotoxins: Challenges for developing countries)
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Article
Investigation of the Metabolic Profile and Toxigenic Variability of Fungal Species Occurring in Fermented Foods and Beverage from Nigeria and South Africa Using UPLC-MS/MS
Toxins 2019, 11(2), 85; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins11020085 - 01 Feb 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1766
Abstract
Fungal species recovered from fermented foods and beverage from Nigeria and South Africa were studied to establish their toxigenic potential in producing an array of secondary metabolites including mycotoxins (n = 49) that could compromise human and animal safety. In total, 385 [...] Read more.
Fungal species recovered from fermented foods and beverage from Nigeria and South Africa were studied to establish their toxigenic potential in producing an array of secondary metabolites including mycotoxins (n = 49) that could compromise human and animal safety. In total, 385 fungal isolates were grown on solidified yeast extract sucrose agar. Their metabolites were extracted and analyzed via ultra-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. To examine the grouping of isolates and co-occurrence of metabolites, hierarchal clustering and pairwise association analysis was performed. Of the 385 fungal strains tested, over 41% were toxigenic producing different mycotoxins. A. flavus and A. parasiticus strains were the principal producers of aflatoxin B1 (27–7406 µg/kg). Aflatoxin B1 and cyclopiazonic acid had a positive association. Ochratoxin A was produced by 67% of the A. niger strains in the range of 28–1302 µg/kg. The sterigmatocystin producers found were A. versicolor (n = 12), A. amstelodami (n = 4), and A. sydowii (n = 6). Apart from P. chrysogenum, none of the Penicillium spp. produced roquefortine C. Amongst the Fusarium strains tested, F. verticillioides produced fumonisin B1 (range: 77–218 µg/kg) meanwhile low levels of deoxynivalenol were observed. The production of multiple metabolites by single fungal species was also evident. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Growth and Mycotoxins: Challenges for developing countries)
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Article
Safety of Corn and Corn-Based Products Intended for Human Consumption Concerning Fumonisins from a Brazilian Processing Plant
Toxins 2019, 11(1), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins11010033 - 10 Jan 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1378
Abstract
Brazil is one of the world’s largest corn producers and is a leader in exportation. Due to intense globalization, corn may be commercialized worldwide and the issue concerning the safety of corn-based products has become a topic of widespread international interest. Dietary exposure [...] Read more.
Brazil is one of the world’s largest corn producers and is a leader in exportation. Due to intense globalization, corn may be commercialized worldwide and the issue concerning the safety of corn-based products has become a topic of widespread international interest. Dietary exposure evaluation is a relevant criterion for mycotoxin risk assessment. Thus, human exposure to fumonisins were assessed for corn grain and its derivatives (endosperm, cornmeal, and grits; n = 320) sampled from one of the large-scale corn processing plants in Brazil. The total probable daily intake (PDI) for fumonisins in Brazil was 96.9 ng kg−1 body weight day−1, which corresponds to 5% of the provisional maximum tolerable daily intake (PMTDI) of 2000 ng kg−1 b.w. day−1 for fumonisins. In countries that import Brazilian corn, the total PDI is lower in European countries (from 35.7 to 177 ng kg−1 b.w. day−1) and higher in Angola (1553 ng kg−1 b.w. day−1). Taking into account that dietary exposure in populations in Brazil and importing countries was low, the corn-based products were safe for human consumption regarding fumonisins, even for regions with high corn consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Growth and Mycotoxins: Challenges for developing countries)
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Article
Post-Harvest Contamination with Mycotoxins in the Context of the Geographic and Agroclimatic Conditions in Romania
Toxins 2018, 10(12), 533; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins10120533 - 13 Dec 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2989
Abstract
This study aimed to assess post-harvest contamination with mycotoxins in the context of the geographic and agroclimatic conditions in Romania in 2012–2015, a period that was characterized by extreme meteorological events and the effects of climate change. The samples were randomly sampled from [...] Read more.
This study aimed to assess post-harvest contamination with mycotoxins in the context of the geographic and agroclimatic conditions in Romania in 2012–2015, a period that was characterized by extreme meteorological events and the effects of climate change. The samples were randomly sampled from five agricultural regions of Romania and analyzed for mycotoxins by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. An SPSS analysis was done to explore correlations between mycotoxins (deoxynivalenol—DON, aflatoxins—AF, ochratoxin A—OTA, zearalenone—ZEA), product types (raw cereal, processed cereal, cereal-based food), geographic coordinates (latitude, longitude, agricultural region), and agroclimatic factors (air temperature, precipitation, soil moisture reserve, aridity index, soil type). In the southeast part of the Southern Plain and Dobrogea (Baragan Plain, located at 44–45° N, 26–27° E), contamination with AF and OTA was higher in raw and processed cereals (maize in silo, silo corn germs) in the dry years (2012 and 2013), and contamination with DON was high in processed cereals (wheat flour type 450) in the rainy year (2014). DON and OTA contamination were significantly correlated with cumulative precipitation in all years, while AF and ZEA contamination were non-significantly correlated with climatic factors and aridity indices. The distribution of mycotoxins by product type and the non-robust correlations between post-harvest mycotoxins and agrometeorological factors could be explained by the use of quality management systems that control cereal at warehouse receptions, performant processing technologies, and the quality of storage spaces of agri-food companies. The Baragan Plain is Romania’s most sensitive area to the predicted climate change in southeast Europe, which may be associated with its increased cereal contamination with AF and OTA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Growth and Mycotoxins: Challenges for developing countries)
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Review

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Review
Understanding Mycotoxin Contamination Across the Food Chain in Brazil: Challenges and Opportunities
Toxins 2019, 11(7), 411; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins11070411 - 15 Jul 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1753
Abstract
Brazil is one of the largest food producers and exporters in the world. In the late 20th century, the European Union program for the harmonization of regulations for contaminants in food, including mycotoxins, led to the examination of mycotoxin contamination in foods at [...] Read more.
Brazil is one of the largest food producers and exporters in the world. In the late 20th century, the European Union program for the harmonization of regulations for contaminants in food, including mycotoxins, led to the examination of mycotoxin contamination in foods at a global level. The problem of the rejection of food by the European Union and other countries became a Brazilian national priority because of economic and food safety aspects. Ochratoxin A in coffee and cocoa and aflatoxins in Brazil nuts are examples of the impact of technical trade barriers on Brazilian foods. To overcome these threats, several strategies were undertaken by Brazilian and international organizations. In this context, the Codex Commission on Food Contaminants (CCCF) has emerged as a forum to discuss with more transparency issues related to mycotoxins, focusing on establishing maximum levels and codes of practices for some commodities and mycotoxins to ensure fair trade and food safety. Our experience in investigating and understanding mycotoxin contamination across the food chains in Brazil has contributed nationally and internationally to providing some answers to these issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Growth and Mycotoxins: Challenges for developing countries)
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Review
Rural Subsistence Maize Farming in South Africa: Risk Assessment and Intervention models for Reduction of Exposure to Fumonisin Mycotoxins
Toxins 2019, 11(6), 334; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins11060334 - 12 Jun 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1786
Abstract
Maize is a staple crop in rural subsistence regions of southern Africa, is mainly produced for direct household consumption and is often contaminated with high levels of mycotoxins. Chronic exposure to mycotoxins is a risk factor for human diseases as it is implicated [...] Read more.
Maize is a staple crop in rural subsistence regions of southern Africa, is mainly produced for direct household consumption and is often contaminated with high levels of mycotoxins. Chronic exposure to mycotoxins is a risk factor for human diseases as it is implicated in the development of cancer, neural tube defects as well as stunting in children. Although authorities may set maximum levels, these regulations are not effective in subsistence farming communities. As maize is consumed in large quantities, exposure to mycotoxins will surpass safe levels even where the contamination levels are below the regulated maximum levels. It is clear that the lowering of exposure in these communities requires an integrated approach. Detailed understanding of agricultural practices, mycotoxin occurrence, climate change/weather patterns, human exposure and risk are warranted to guide adequate intervention programmes. Risk communication and creating awareness in affected communities are also critical. A range of biologically based products for control of mycotoxigenic fungi and mycotoxins in maize have been developed and commercialised. Application of these methods is limited due to a lack of infrastructure and resources. Other challenges regarding integration and sustainability of technological and community-based mycotoxin reduction strategies include (i) food security, and (ii) the traditional use of mouldy maize. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Growth and Mycotoxins: Challenges for developing countries)
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Review
Fusarium Toxins in Chinese Wheat since the 1980s
Toxins 2019, 11(5), 248; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins11050248 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1406
Abstract
Wheat Fusarium head blight (FHB), caused by Fusarium species, is a widespread and destructive fungal disease. In addition to the substantial yield and revenue losses, diseased grains are often contaminated with Fusarium mycotoxins, making them unsuitable for human consumption or use as animal [...] Read more.
Wheat Fusarium head blight (FHB), caused by Fusarium species, is a widespread and destructive fungal disease. In addition to the substantial yield and revenue losses, diseased grains are often contaminated with Fusarium mycotoxins, making them unsuitable for human consumption or use as animal feed. As a vital food and feed ingredient in China, the quality and safety of wheat and its products have gained growing attention from consumers, producers, scientists, and policymakers. This review supplies detailed data about the occurrence of Fusarium toxins and related intoxications from the 1980s to the present. Despite the serious situation of toxin contamination in wheat, the concentration of toxins in flour is usually lower than that in raw materials, and food-poisoning incidents have been considerably reduced. Much work has been conducted on every phase of toxin production and wheat circulation by scientific researchers. Regulations for maximum contamination limits have been established in recent years and play a substantial role in ensuring the stability of the national economy and people’s livelihoods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Growth and Mycotoxins: Challenges for developing countries)
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