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Mycotoxins are naturally occurring chemically related toxic fungal metabolites produced by a variety of fungi, belonging mainly to the Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium genera.

Mycotoxins are subject to stringent regulations by food and feed industries as they can cause significant complications to human health and can grow on a wide range of foodstuffs such as grains and animal feed.

The moulds in which mycotoxins are emitted can grow either pre-harvest, during harvest or in storage and can emerge in varying temperatures and storage conditions. In some cases, mycotoxins have the potential survive food processing.

The effects on human health

According to the UK Food Standards Agency, the following are some of the effects mycotoxins can have on human health:

  • Kidney damage
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Suppression of the immune system
  • There is also evidence to suggest that Aflatoxins can cause liver cancer in humans.

The types of mycotoxins

There are several different types of mycotoxins that can appear on a variety of foodstuffs:

  • Aflatoxin (B1, B2, G1 and G2)
  • Ochratoxin A
  • Fumonisin
  • Zearalenone (Zea)
  • Deoxynivalenol (DON) or Vomitoxin
  • T-2/HT-2 toxin

How can Mycotoxins be detected?

The presence of mycotoxins is, of course, a concern to any consumer. So, how are the consumers protected from mycotoxins entering the supply chain?

As mycotoxins are naturally occurring substances, regulatory bodies can’t enforce food producers remove mycotoxins totally from foodstuffs. However, regulatory bodies have set a Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) which is deemed to be a safe level of mycotoxin consumption for humans.

Therefore, food safety professionals test the different variety of mycotoxins by laboratory or in-field diagnostic methods.

Testing protocols will depend on the food or feed being tested as there is not a standard acceptable level for all mycotoxins across all foods.

Quick mycotoxin detection method

One method for detecting mycotoxins is to use a lateral flow test strip. By using a simple step-by-step process, lateral flow test strips can confirm the presence of a mycotoxin in a sample in a matter of minutes.

Owing to the portable nature of these rapid tests they can be used in-the-field without any extensive training. Meaning any food safety professional can use them during mycotoxin testing.

One significant advantage of these rapid tests is the speed in which they can produce results. In time-precious supply chains, every minute counts. So being able to test in storage before distribution or during harvest, for example, without having to wait for samples to be sent off to lab and results returned, means the onward journey of food commodities can continue relatively hassle-free. Conversely, if mycotoxins are detected, the food commodity being tested can be quarantined and dealt with accordingly.

We are passionate about supplying the food with a tool that can aid the safe passage of food industry destined for human consumption and supply a range of mycotoxin tests.

Mycotoxin rapid tests

Below is a list of mycotoxins that can be detected by the Pocket Diagnostic® range:

Visit our product pages to learn more about our mycotoxin rapid tests or contact us on +44 (0) 01904 406050 or at