Mycotoxins: Applications & Testing Methodology

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by specific molds. When humans and other animals are exposed to mycotoxins, they can experience several adverse health effects.

Mycotoxins can accumulate on food commodities as well as animal feed and natural raw materials used in a range of applications and consumer products, including dietary supplements and nutraceuticals. Mycotoxins have also been found to be present in other products prepared with naturally occurring agricultural commodities, including tea leaves and tobacco products.

Mycotoxin regulations

To protect consumer health, the maximum levels for mycotoxins in foodstuffs have been established worldwide, and the maximum levels for exposure vary based upon regional and country-specific regulations. There are five primary groups of mycotoxins which are commonly found in foodstuffs and feed, which include:

  • Aflatoxins;
  • Vomitoxin, also known as deoxynivalenol (DON);
  • Ochratoxin A;
  • Fumonisin, and
  • Zearalenone.

Mycotoxin testing methodology

Several established international organizations, including ISO (International Organization for Standardization), CEN (European Committee for Standardization), and the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC) International, have developed analytical methods for the monitoring of mycotoxins in food commodities. These published and recognized methods for testing food and feed products for mycotoxins include rapid Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) tests, as well as more in-depth chromatography-based methods, which generate more detailed data.

Advantages of LC/MS-MS mycotoxin methods

As mycotoxin toxicity occurs at very low concentrations, sensitive and reliable methods are needed to detect these toxins. Particularly, liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS-MS) mycotoxin methods offer many advantages, providing both qualitative and quantitative data, in addition to low limits of detection (LOD). Furthermore, improved sensitivity can be achieved when mycotoxins are partially purified and concentrated using solid phase extraction (SPE) prior to LC/MS-MS analysis. In summary, LC/MS-MS methodology is appropriate for complex sample matrices, as it delivers high sensitivity and specificity. LC/MS-MS mycotoxin test methods are appropriate for:

  • An overview of regulated metabolites;
  • Detection of most common mycotoxins, and
  • Identification of the full toxic load.

Element offers mycotoxin testing by validated LC/MS-MS methods

Element can analyze a wide range of sample matrices for several mycotoxins by validated LC/MS-MS methods. Our LC/MS-MS mycotoxin methods are validated for the following contaminants:

  • 3-Acetyldeoxynivalenol (3-AcDON);
  • Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1);
  • Aflatoxin B2 (AFB2);
  • Aflatoxin G1 (AFG1);
  • Aflatoxin G2 (AFG2);
  • Alternariol (ALT);
  • Deoxynivalenol (DON);
  • Diacetoxyscirpenol (DAS);
  • Fumonisin B1 (FB1);
  • Fumonisin B2 (FB2);
  • Fumonisin B3 (FB3);
  • Fusarenon-X (FUSX);
  • HT-2 toxin (HT2);
  • Neosolaniol (NEO);
  • Nivalenol (NIV);
  • Ochratoxin A (OTA);
  • T-2 toxin (T2);
  • Zearalanol (ZEA; a combination of α-zearalanol and β-zearalanol);
  • Zearalenone (ZON), and
  • Antifungal thiabendazole (THIA).

To learn more about Element’s mycotoxin testing and wraparound services, contact us to speak with an expert.

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