Volume 94 Issue 46 | p. 10 | Concentrates
Issue Date: November 21, 2016

Masked fungal toxins in our food

When pathogenic fungi leave poisons behind on harvests, the plant can modify the toxins, sidestepping food safety detection
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: toxicology, mycotoxin, food, toxicology, agriculture, fungus

When fungi attack agricultural crops, they don’t just decrease yield, they can also leave behind poisonous compounds on the harvest. Although food safety scientists have long monitored these fungal products, known as mycotoxins, in recent years they’ve discovered that plants can chemically modify the compounds for their own survival, say, by adding a protective sugar group. However, food safety tests don’t currently look for these masked mycotoxins. Furthermore, the masked mycotoxins “may be hydrolyzed in . . .

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