Feed mill employees get in contact with mycotoxins. But how big is the risk? And how much do Flemish people know about mycotoxins? Two topics that were published recently in the World Mycotoxin Journal.
Settled grain dust screened for mycotoxins
A new paper: 'Mycotoxins and other fungal metabolites in grain dust from Norwegian grain elevators and compound feed mills', published by a group of Norwegian researchers gained some interesting conclusions. The researchers screened settled grain dust from grain elevators and compound feed mills for fungal metabolites by LC/MS-MS and explore differences between work places, seasons and climatic zones.
Over 70 microbial metabolites were detected in settled dust from grain elevators and compound feed mills. The main mycotoxins found were from the genus Fusarium. Particularly large quantities of DON, depsipeptides, aurofusarin, avenacein Y and culmorin were found. Most of the metabolites have previously not been detected in grain dust, and for some very little toxicological information is available. The prevalence and concentration of most metabolites were higher in grain elevators compared to compound feed mills. It remains to be determined whether the detected concentrations of the microbial metabolites are of toxicological relevance and may implicate adverse health outcomes when inhaled.
Flemish agri people underestimate mycotoxins effects
Another new mycotoxin paper looked at the awareness of the risks of mycotoxin contaminated food and feed throughout the Flemish population. The questionnaire was distributed online at the Agriflanders Fair (a fair for and by the Flemish agricultural sector). Most people in the study (n=520) were aware of the negative effects of mould species in food or feed. Although 59.4% of all participants stated that moulds are mycotoxin producers, still a large part, including people from the agricultural sector, did not know by which organisms mycotoxins are produced. When it comes to addressing the toxic effects of mycotoxins, not many people were aware of these effects on plants and animals living in water, contrary to the effects on humans and other animals. In all cases, the toxic effects were not sufficiently recognised according to the authors of the paper.
Surprisingly, although 82.2% (average) of the Flemish population preferred to have their food or feed tested for the presence of moulds and mycotoxins, only 51.7% were willing to pay more for it. In summary, one can state that more awareness concerning mould growth, production of mycotoxins by moulds, their toxic effects on organisms, exposure pathways and how to deal with mouldy food is of high value and importance for the Flemish population. More information should be provided to increase the awareness of mycotoxin contamination of food and feed.
Source: World Mycotoxin Journal (Wageningen Academic Publishers)
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