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Detoxification of Fumonisin by a Simple Fructose Reaction in Corn for Food

Osweiler, Gary; Murphy, Patricia
Iowa State University
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The toxin, fumonisin B1, is found in corn everywhere. A suspected cancer-causing agent in humans, fumonisin Bl requires its amine group, a simple nitrogen-containing portion of the molecule, for its toxic action. Reacting this amine with simple sugars, such as fructose, is likely to block fumonisin toxicity, as we have previously demonstrated in a one-month model of liver cancer development in rats.

Our objectives are:

  1. To determine the toxicity of fructose-FBl products in: a) a study of short-term toxic effects in pigs and b) a field-test feeding rats a fumonisin contaminated corn food that we have attempted to detoxify; and
  2. To determine the processing conditions for the reactions of fructose and glucose with fumonisin to occur in corn-based foods.
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Objective l will be accomplished by feeding studies in pigs (for 2 weeks) and rats (for 4 months), comparing toxicity of pure fumonisin B 1 with a fumonisin B1-fructose product and with corn contaminated with fumonisin and corn reacted to detoxify the fumonisin. Toxicity will be assessed by blood chemical changes and microscopic examination of tissues from the test animals.

Objective 2 will determine the feasibility of performing this detoxification reaction in human foods, characterizing FB-reducing sugar reactions and the nature of the detoxification product(s),using a variety of chemical analytical techniques.

These studies may provide a practical approach to the problem of natural toxins, increasing the safety of the food supply by detoxifying a natural toxin that occurs in com everywhere.

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Natural Toxins
Food Defense and Integrity