Processes for Reducing Mycotoxins

Food Toxicology 2(2+0)
Lesson 14 : Fungal Mycotoxins

Processes for Reducing Mycotoxins

  • Refining of oils (peanut oil)
  • Milling of grains
  • Prevention of mold growth: sodium bisulfite, sorbate, propionate, nitrate
  • Ammonia and ozone treatment of grains

The genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Fusarium account for most of the hundreds of mycotoxins known to produce toxic syndromes (mycotoxicoses) in mammals. Many mycotoxins are unstable to cooking conditions or food-processing procedures. The ones of concern are chemically stable and resistant to cooking and can persist during food processing, despite the molds being killed. Absence of detectable presence of molds does not necessarily mean that there are no mycotoxins. Some foods with no visible evidence of molds may have mycotoxins.

Dairy products can be contaminated if cattle are fed moldy feed. Any food on which molds have grown can potentially contain mycotoxins, which one cannot tell by appearance, taste, or smell. Mycotoxin production and contamination depend on environmental conditions (weather, moisture) and can occur in the field, during harvest or processing, and during storage and shipment. Although heat and high humidity sharply increase mold growth, many do well in limited amounts of moisture and require lower levels than those required to support the growth of bacteria. Molds can be found in the soil, and when the seed kernel is damaged, the fungus can invade and multiply.

Many mycotoxins are stable to heat and normal cooking. Moist heating, such as the roasting of peanuts, destroys 20 to 80% of some aflatoxins. in the Orient, the flavor of crude peanut oil, which is because of the presence of significant mycotoxins, is preferred because of its taste. Force-air drying techniques help reduce moisture, preventing mold growth. During food production, prevention is the key in reducing the mycotoxin load of products. Some spices, such as peppers and mustard, inhibit mycotoxin production by molds.

Last modified: Thursday, 23 February 2012, 9:25 AM