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Food Addit Contam. 2000 May;17(5):399-406.

Patulin in apple-based foods: occurrence and safety evaluation.

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  • 1Laboratory of Toxicology, University of Milan, Italy.


Patulin is a mycotoxin produced by certain species of Penicillium and Aspergillus, often detectable in mouldy fruits and their derivatives. On the basis of a PMTDI of 0.4 microgram/kg bw, limit values of 50 micrograms/kg or 50 micrograms/l of patulin have been set in fruit derivatives. To estimate the quantity of patulin that can be taken in with the diet, we analysed by HPLC samples of apples and apple derivatives which are most likely to be contaminated with patulin. In apple juices and in homogenized baby-foods, the mycotoxin concentration was always below the established limits, while in some samples of juice with pulp the mycotoxin content exceeded the safe levels. In rotten apples, not only was the amount of patulin extraordinarily high in the rotten area, but the mycotoxin had also spread to the part unaffected by mould. The data presented in this study indicate that the intake of patulin with apple derivatives is usually below the tolerable level of 0.4 microgram/kg bw/day, but since the patulin content in apples can vary considerably, the quality of fruits used in the production of apple derivatives should be strictly controlled in order not to exceed the safe limits.

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