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Determination of Masked Mycotoxins in Cereals and Cereal-Based Foods


<p>Hydrolysis experiments using digestive juices from the upper gut and colonic microbiota will be undertaken and analysed to characterise any unknown metabolites. A further experiment to study the gut transport of masked mycotoxins and parent mycotoxins will also be undertaken. These experiments will lead to a fuller understanding of the possible significance of masked mycotoxins in the diet. This information and the results of the survey will inform as to whether these compounds are cause for concern in the UK diet.</p>

<p>The first part of the project will be to collect data on masked mycotoxins that already have standardised and validated methods of analysis.</p>
The following samples will be analysed:
<ul><li>25 cereal products from wheat, rice, oat, barley, rye and maize - such as flour, semolina, maize oil</li>
<li>60 breakfast cereals, bread and rolls, pasta, biscuits and pastries, cereal snacks (including maize- and oat-based)</li>
<li>30 cereal-based infant food</li>
<li>30 beers</li>
<li>30 dried spices</li></ul>

<p>The second phase of the project will concentrate on developing suitable analytical methods to determine other masked mycotoxins in foods and carry out gut hydrolysis studies on the masked mycotoxins human enzymes and gut microbiota. The transport of these compounds through the gut epithelium in vitro will also be studied.</p>

More information

<p>Background: Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by fungi which frequently contaminate cereal crops. Mycotoxins are partly metabolised to conjugated forms by living plants, including food crops, and are converted to the bound or masked forms of the toxin. Humans consuming parts of the contaminated plants, especially cereals or their processed products are therefore not just exposed to the native (free) mycotoxins, but also to conjugated forms. In addition to metabolism, processing of food (eg cooking, baking and brewing) is another potential source of mycotoxin conjugates.<br/>When masked mycotoxins enter the intestinal tract, these compounds are likely to release the free, unbound mycotoxins and might add to the toxicological burden Therefore the presence of masked metabolites of mycotoxins in foods and their release inside the human gut need to be assessed to add to a more complete assessment of the risk posed by these compounds. </p>

University of Aberdeen
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