Zearalenone

Zearalenone (ZEN) is produced primarily by F. grami-nearum and is among the most widely distributed Fusarium mycotoxins. It is associated mainly with maize but occurs in modest concentrations in wheat, barley, sorghum, and other commodities. An official tolerance level of 1 mg/kg ZEN in grains, fats, and oils was established in Russia. Proposed levels in other countries are 0.2 mg/kg ZEN in maize in Brazil and 0.03 mg/kg in all food in Romania. ZEN has estrogenic effects in domestic pigs and experimental animals. F-2 toxicosis and hyperestrogenism are two diseases in pigs caused by ZEN. ZEN is teratogenic to mice and rats and induces chromosomal anomalies in cultured rodent cells. Its carcinogenicity was tested by administration in the diet of mice in one experiment and in that of rats in two experiments. An increased incidence of hepatocellular adenomas was observed in female mice, and an increased incidence of pituitary adenomas was observed in mice of both sexes. No increase in the incidence of tumors was observed in rats.

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