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Effects of Processing on Mycotoxins in Food

Investigators
Jackson, Lauren
Institutions
National Center for Food Safety & Technology
Start date
1996
End date
2000
Objective
The objectives of this project were to:
  1. Study the effects of processing/chemical treatments on fumonisin in corn-based food and patulin in apple cider/juice,
  2. Participate in surveys for fumonisin and patulin in food,
  3. Correlate apple quality with patulin levels in juice/cider, and
  4. Determine the effects of washing treatments on patulin levels in cider made from contaminated apples.
More information

This work is continuing at the NCFST under a new project number, PR-0020 with new funding and slightly modified objectives.

The following is a summary of current project status. Mycotoxins are a chemically diverse group of secondary metabolites produced by fungi. They are responsible for significant financial losses for the food industry and pose a threat to human and animal health.

The objectives of this project were to

  1. Study the effects of processing/chemical treatments on fumonisin in corn-based food and patulin in apple cider/juice,
  2. Participate in surveys for fumonisin and patulin in food,
  3. Correlate apple quality with patulin levels in juice/cider, and
  4. Determine the effects of washing treatments on patulin levels in cider made from contaminated apples.

We found that fumonisin is fairly heat stable under most conditions encountered during thermal processing (e.g. boiling, retorting, baking and frying) but may be destroyed during extrusion cooking. Adding glucose to contaminated corn grits enhanced destruction of fumonisin during extrusion.

In dry milling experiments, fumonisin tended to concentrate in bran, germ and fine fractions of naturally contaminated corn. Work on the stability of patulin has shown that the compound is stable under pasteurization temperatures/times. However, addition of ascorbic acid to juice may result in losses of patulin.

Surveys conducted of corn-based foods and apple juices/ciders purchased in the Chicago area indicated that most foods contained low levels of fumonisin or patulin. High levels of fumonisin (>3 ppm) were found in samples of blue and high-lysine corn meal. Several lots of a generic brand of apple juice contained high levels of patulin (>30 ppb.

In several experiments, we found that cider made from dropped apples had significantly higher patulin levels than cider pressed from tree-picked fruit. Washing the dropped apples with water and chlorine solution before pressing, appeared to lower patulin levels in the cider. More work is needed understand the effects of processing on mycotoxins and to identify methods for reducing mycotoxin levels in food.

Project number
PR-0013-10/96
Categories
Natural Toxins
Commodities
Produce
Grains, Beans, Legumes