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Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 12;6:24328. doi: 10.1038/srep24328.

Aflatoxin B1 contamination in maize in Europe increases due to climate change.

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Università Cattolica del S. Cuore di Piacenza Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Department of Sustainable Crop Production, via Emilia Parmense 84, 29100 Piacenza, Italy.
National Research Council - Institute of Biometeorology (CNR-IBIMET), Via Caproni 8, 50145 Florence, Italy.
RIKILT Wageningen UR, Department of Toxicology, Bio-assays &Novel Foods, Akkermaalsbos 2, NL-6708 WB, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Institute of Sciences of Food Productions, CNR, Via Amendola 122/O, 70126, Bari, Italy.
Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety Department, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.
European Food Safety Authority, Scientific Committee and Emerging Risks Unit, Via Carlo Magno 1A, 43126 Parma, Italy.


Climate change has been reported as a driver for emerging food and feed safety issues worldwide and its expected impact on the presence of mycotoxins in food and feed is of great concern. Aflatoxins have the highest acute and chronic toxicity of all mycotoxins; hence, the maximal concentration in agricultural food and feed products and their commodities is regulated worldwide. The possible change in patterns of aflatoxin occurrence in crops due to climate change is a matter of concern that may require anticipatory actions. The aim of this study was to predict aflatoxin contamination in maize and wheat crops, within the next 100 years, under a +2 °C and +5 °C climate change scenario, applying a modelling approach. Europe was virtually covered by a net, 50 × 50 km grids, identifying 2254 meshes with a central point each. Climate data were generated for each point, linked to predictive models and predictions were run consequently. Aflatoxin B1 is predicted to become a food safety issue in maize in Europe, especially in the +2 °C scenario, the most probable scenario of climate change expected for the next years. These results represent a supporting tool to reinforce aflatoxin management and to prevent human and animal exposure.

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