Patulin is produced primarily by P. expansum. Other Penicillium and Aspergillus species can also be patu-lin producers. Commodities found contaminated with patulin are mainly fruits and fruit juices in Europe and North America. Patulin is appreciably stable in apple and grape juices, and it may constitute a potential threat to humans. Currently, 11 countries have set regulatory limits for patulin in fruit juice ranging from 30 to 50 ppb. The toxicity of patulin has been studied in many experimental models, including chicken, quail, cat, cattle, rabbit, mice, and rats. The toxic effects on these animals were found to be edema and hemorrhage in brain and lungs; capillary damage in the liver, spleen, and kidney; paralysis of motor nerves; and convulsions. Patulin is also an immunosuppressive agent that inhibits multiple aspects of macrophage function.

See also: Cancer: Effects on Nutritional Status. Liver Disorders. Nuts and Seeds.

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