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Special Issue Article Open Access

Quantification of multiple fungal toxins in cereal food using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry


Filamentous fungi belonging to Alternaria, Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium genera are known to synthesized secondary metabolites known as mycotoxins. Mycotoxins adversely affect agricultural products, humans and animals. Maize is one of the most essential staple foods worldwide and susceptible to a wide variety of mycotoxins. A total of 22 mycotoxins were quantified in maize (24), sorghum (8), wheat(3) and porridge (20) samples from Limpopo Province in South Africa using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Twelve (12) out of 22 mycotoxins were detected in maize, maize porridge,sorghum and wheat, including α- Zearalenol (89%), fumonisin B3 (FB3) (84%), fumonisin B1 (FB1) (80%), tenuazonic acid (TeA) (78%), ochratoxin B (42%), deoxynivalenol (12%), ochratoxin A (11%), 3- Acetyldeoxynivalenol (7%), sterigmatocystin (6%), 15- Acetyldeoxynivalenol (2%), cyclopiazonic acid (2%) and aflatoxin B2 (2%). Fumonisins (FB1 and FB3) exceeded the maximum level of European Commission Regulations. There is a substantial need to monitor the incidence of mycotoxins and emerging mycotoxins in food commodities as a high concentration of FB1 (2153 ppb) and TeA (292.7 µg/kg) was detected in maize and sorghum, respectively. The occurrence of multi-mycotoxins inclusive of emerging mycotoxins with no regulation may result in health implications on humans. The occurrence of these mycotoxins further encourages frequent analyses, their co-occurrence in the samples poses a significant threat to public health and more emphasis should thus be placed on reducing the contamination levels of these toxins in staples.  

Shandry Tebele 
University of Johannesburg, Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology, South Africa

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