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Food Chem Toxicol. 2014 Jul;69:220-30. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2014.04.025. Epub 2014 Apr 24.

Mycotoxins in a changing global environment--a review.

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Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Escobedo, Nuevo León 66050, Mexico. Electronic address:
School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA. Electronic address:
Veterinary Integrative Biosciences Department, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address:


Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites produced by fungal species that commonly contaminate staple foods and feeds. They represent an unavoidable problem due to their presence in globally consumed cereals such as rice, maize and wheat. Most mycotoxins are immunosuppressive agents and some are carcinogens, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, and neurotoxins. Worldwide trends envision a stricter control of mycotoxins, however, the changing global environment may not be the ideal setting to control and reduce the exposure to these toxins. Although new technologies allow us to inspect the multi-mycotoxin presence in foods, new sources of exposure, gaps in knowledge of mycotoxins interactions, appearance of "emergent" mycotoxins and elucidation of consequent health effects can complicate their control even more. While humans are adapting to cope with environmental changes, such as food scarcity, decreased food quality, mycotoxin regulations, crop production and seasonality, and other climate related modifications, fungal species are also adapting and increased cases of mycotoxin adverse health effects are likely to occur in the future. To guarantee access to quality food for all, we need a way to balance global mycotoxin standards with the realistic feasibility of reaching them, considering limitations of producers and designing strategies to reduce mycotoxin exposure based on sound research.


Climate; Economic impact; Emergent; Environment; Mycotoxins; Susceptible populations

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