Other Mycotoxins That Can Occur In Food

T-2 toxin was isolated from "strain T-2" of F. sporotrichio-ides misidentified as F. tricinctum isolated from corn associated with cow mortalities (33,114). This compound has been the subject of considerable toxicological study (17) because it is easy to isolate and purify. During World War II, there were large-scale poisoning of the rural population in the former Soviet Union caused by the consumption of grains left in the field over winter (estimates range to 1,000,000 victims). The disease was called alimentary toxic aleukia. Samples of extracts made at the time have been shown to contain the trichothecenes T-2 and HT-2 toxin. Shortly after consuming food prepared with contaminated grain, people reported a burning sensation in their mouths, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, and tachycardia. After a period of time, affected individuals felt better, but there was a progressive leucopenia, anemia, and decreased platelet count, lowering "the resistance of the body to bacterial infection." As consumption of toxic grains continued, petechial hemorrhages on the upper part of the body appeared together with necrotic lesions in the mouth and face. Bacterial infections were common. Patients who reached this stage almost always died (115). The toxicology of T-2 toxin is similar in character to that previously described for deoxynivalenol and is reviewed extensively in Ref. 17.

Patulin (116) is primarily found in apple and grape juices where is occurs from the growth of Penicillium ex-pansum. Many other species of molds produce patulin. The presence of this toxin in juice is a sign that damaged fruit was present. The sparse toxicological data on this compound have been reviewed by the California Environmental Protection Agency in 1998 (http: / /www.oehha.org). This compound has low acute toxicity, and there is insufficient evidence to conclude that it is carcinogenic in ro dents (IARC category 3). Human exposure in some countries has been high, and industry-government efforts have been made in North America and Europe to reduce the occurrence of patulin in juice.

Ergot alkaloids seldom appear in meaningful concentrations in food samples in the North America or Europe because the presence of Claviceps sclerotia in grains is a grading factor. However, infections by ergot alkaloid-producing fungi remain common in the sense that plants on the edges of rye, barley, and wheat fields are often infected. Thus the majority of products made from wheat or rye contain traces of ergot alkaloids (117). Grains downgraded to animal feed can contain ergot. Cattle are more sensitive than mice, sheep, or swine and sclerotial contents of about 0.1% appear to be tolerable. In cattle, the symptoms include lameness, and in other domestic animals reduced weight gain can be expected (6). Ergotism in humans has been reported in India and parts of Africa in modern times (29).

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