Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites produced by moulds. Mycotoxins can have serious acute and chronic effects on the health of humans as well as animals, therefore mycotoxin analysis of food and feed is necessary and often required by legislation.
General information on mycotoxins
Throughout history mycotoxins, as we know them now, have impaired the quality of agricultural products. Major commodities such as corn, wheat, rice, soy and peanuts can be contaminated with mycotoxins, depending on growth conditions and storage conditions. So can other commodities like rye, oats, hazelnuts, figs, grapes or spices may be affected by mycotoxins. The consumption of mycotoxin contaminated products may have acute toxic health effects on humans and animals as well as chronic effects. Besides health costs also direct economic factors play a role like decreased efficiency in the growth of farm animals, trade losses because of import and export limitations and direct losses in revenue of crop value. To protect the health of consumers and animals worldwide legislations for mycotoxins are in place.
The analysis of mycotoxins presents some unique challenges: Mycotoxins are naturally occurring contaminants. Production prior to harvest is affected by weather conditions, as well as agricultural practices; production after harvest depends upon storage conditions. This puts certain challenges on the risk management of mycotoxins: Where, when, how often and how many do I test?
Mycotoxins are spread very inhomogeneously throughout a product and maybe present at very low levels. Samples to be tested maybe analytically simple matrices such as wheat, corn or maybe very complicated matrices like spices, coffee or complex mixtures of ingredients as in animal feed. It is very important to choose the right sampling and analytical method for the product to be tested. R-Biopharm offers a wide range of analytical methods for mycotoxin analysis.
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