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Fate of Fumonisin B1 Eliminated by Thermal Food Process (9601564)

Shier, W. Thomas
University of Minnesota
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The proposed research is aimed at determining the fate of fumonisin during thermal food processing.
  1. Expected degradation and derivatization products will be synthesized, examined for biological activity, and used to develop assays to detect their presence in foods.
  2. The fate of radiolabeled fumonisin will be traced through various types of food processing.

The full extent of the threat to food safety posed by fumonisins will not be known, nor can rational approaches for removing it be developed, until it is determined what biologically active substances the toxin is concerted to during food processing.

More information

The cause of most human cancer is not know, although the preponderance of evidence implicates environmental agents, many of which are found in the foods we eat.

The prevailing model of chemical carcinogenesis defines two component processes: a mutation followed by repeated application of tumor promoters.

Almost all known environmental carcinogens are mutagens, whereas there were few, if any, viable candidates for environmental tumor promoters until the discovery of the fumonisins, a series of sphingosine-analog mycotoxins produced by the ubiquitous corn contaminant Fusarium moniliforme.

Fumonisins are stable enough that some persist through processing to contaminate foods consumed daily by millions of Americans. Studies carried out in this laboratory indicated that extensive alterations in the structure of the fumonisin molecule are possible without loss of biologically active forms.

This observation raises the concern that what fumonisin is "removed" during food processing may actually be converted to other biological forms.

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Natural Toxins
Bacterial Pathogens