Mycotoxins in food: than as for a person

A mycotoxin is a toxic substances that are by-products (poisons) of vital activity of fungi. They are characterized by high biological activity. Mycotoxins spread in food or raw materials for their production. On the human body these biological agents have a negative impact, lead to the development of chronic pathology of the internal organs, creating a danger to life.

Mycotoxins enter the human body through the alimentary, only with food. Contamination of products can occur at any stage of production. Ideal conditions for the reproduction and distribution of fungi produce toxins:

  • the access of oxygen;
  • humidity;
  • warm air;
  • the presence of organic substances.

In such conditions, fungi quickly form large colonies, where the concentration of toxins is constantly increasing.

What products hit the mycotoxins

Most heavily contaminated by fungi of cereals. Mycotoxins are striking grains, seeds, legumes. Also the metabolites found in fruits and vegetables, nuts. In case of violation of storage conditions they can be formed in any products.

The prevalence of mold in the products:

  • grains – wheat, oats, barley, rye, corn, rice, feed grains;
  • legumes – beans, peas;
  • nuts – peanuts, walnuts;
  • raisins, dried fruit;
  • dairy products;
  • bakery products;
  • meat;
  • vegetables – tomatoes, peppers;
  • fruit – apples, quinces, pears, peaches, apricots, bananas;
  • berries – strawberries, cranberries, blueberries;
  • fruit juices and purees, compotes, preserves, jams;
  • coffee.

Appearance of raw materials is not always possible to determine the presence of fungi. But they almost always affect the organoleptic properties. Appears bitter, unpleasant taste, odor (musty). This is due to the decomposition of organic substances under the action of mycotoxins.

To get rid of such a defeat is impossible. Mycotoxins are resistant to high temperatures, they cannot be destroyed by boiling. By roasting, washing, boiling poisonous substances are impossible to clear. Mycotoxins in food products are characterized by high toxicity even in small doses. So spoiled raw materials or finished products must be destroyed. It is unfit to drink.

The types of mycotoxins and their characteristics

Metabolic poisons is a substance that disrupt or stop the metabolic processes (metabolism) at the cellular level. Produced by fungi toxins also relate to the metabolic poisons.

In nature, identified more than 400 types of mycotoxins. To make a precise classification is not possible as the same fungus in certain conditions produces several types of toxins. When exposed to the body of a person or animal develops mycotoxicosis. Consider the most common toxins encountered by the person.


Patulin is a metabolite of fungi of the genus Aspergillus and Penicillium. Found in processed fruits and vegetables, beans, wheat. In its action the moderately toxic substance that can cause mutations. Patulin has neurotoxic, immunotoxic and carcinogenic. In animals, the mycotoxin damages chromosomes or DNA, affects the reproductive function. In large doses leads to internal bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, pulmonary edema.

For a person patulin is not dangerous. Small doses of a substance does not affect the body and health in General.


This is the most dangerous group of mycotoxins. Its members have a strong carcinogenic effect. In the cooking process, they are not destroyed. Occur in raw materials, rich in starch, wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice, corn. Also recorded the occurrence of mycotoxins in products of animal origin – milk and meat. At high humidity, over 85%, the production of aflatoxins is terminated.

Mycotoxin is a potent hepatotropic poison, which infects liver cells. Main steps:

  • carcinogens contributes to the development of cancer of the liver;
  • mutagenic – causes mutations;
  • teratogenic – leads to defects of embryonic development.

Aflatoxins destroy the cell, affecting all of its components. The exchange leads to chaos and eventually to cell death. The greatest danger to humans by ingestion of mycotoxins inside the risk of developing primary liver cancer.


Zearalenone is a mycotoxin non-steroidal nature. Often affects cereals, nuts, tropical fruits, black pepper. Found in meat, eggs, organ meats (liver). Spread during cultivation and storage. Toxic action is directed to the hormone estrogen.

For humans, the mycotoxin is not dangerous. In rare cases it is possible to observe such pathological States:

  • gynecomastia is an inflammation of the breast in men;
  • the menstrual cycle;
  • the weakening of sexual function.


In this group there are more than 100 types of mycotoxins. Have a neurotoxic effect,violate the qualitative and quantitative composition of the blood.

The symptoms of mycotoxicosis in humans:

  • Central nervous system – headaches, migraines, insomnia, increased intracranial pressure;
  • lose gastrointestinal – loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, destruction of the mucous membrane of the mouth;
  • violation of hematopoiesis – reduced number of red blood cells (anemia), white blood cells (leukopenia), slowing the process of blood clotting;
  • the defeat of the immune system – increases susceptibility to infectious diseases;
  • skin lesions – dermatitis.

The ochratoxins

These mycotoxins are highly toxic. Major negative effect:

  • teratogenic risk – risk of abnormal fetal development;
  • nephrotoxic acute or chronic liver inflammation (nephritis), necrotic tubules, elevated levels of urea in blood;
  • immunosuppressive – inhibition of the protective functions of the immune system, atrophy of the lymphoid tissue.

Preventive measures and treatment of mycotoxicosis

Prevention and combating of fungi should be given special attention, as the last link in the food chain is man.

Important in the prevention – control of production and consumption of grain crops. The periods in which measures are taken to prevent contamination of raw materials:

  1. Assessment of seed quality.
  2. Special treatment of the soil.
  3. Control of germination.
  4. Harvesting in compliance with technical standards.
  5. Assessment of the grain after harvest.
  6. Barn storage.
  7. Processing of raw materials.

To avoid the spread of fungi, you must comply with technical standards on all 7 control points. If necessary, take timely measures for decontamination of grain.

Treatment of mycotoxicosis is based on three principles:

  • The first is the restoration of water – salt balance of the body. Watering electrolyte solution of sodium chloride helps to eliminate toxins from the body, and the molecules of chlorine help to restore the cell structure and prevent further destruction. Saline reduces inflammation, prevention of bacterial infection restores the immune system.
  • The second is the use of sorbents for neutralization and removal of mycotoxins. Sorption of drugs do not allow the accumulation of toxic substances in organs and tissues.
  • The third is the use of probiotics. Ingestion of lactic acid bacteria promotes the synthesis of enzymes in the digestive tract, which transformyour mycotoxins in less toxic substance. Probiotics also improve the overall physiological state of a person.

Fungi that produce mycotoxins, capable of hitting different groups of food products. The degree of toxicity of some substances may be minor, beneficial effects on the body. Other fungi able to cause severe human poisoning, and the development of internal cancers. So absolutely can not eat food with mold.