What is the role of fungal toxins in causing disease?

Fungi can produce mycotoxins in grains if they parasitize the host plants during growth or else grow as saprophytes on grains during harvest and storage. Different mycotoxins can disrupt critical hormonal systems, damage organs, compromise the immune system, or cause cancer.

What fungi produce aflatoxins?

Aspergillus flavus
The main fungi that produce aflatoxins are Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which are abundant in warm and humid regions of the world.

What is called toxins of fungal origin?

Answer: Toxins of fungal origin are called mycotoxins.

How common are mycotoxins in food?

Presently, over 300 mycotoxins have been identified and reported; however, only a few regularly contaminate food and animal feedstuffs. These are aflatoxins (AF), ochratoxins (OT), fumonisins, patulin, zearalenone (ZEA), and trichothecenes including deoxynivalenol (DON) and T-2 toxin [6,7].

What are fungal toxins?

Fungal toxins are the chemicals produced by fungi under certain conditions. They are not essential for fungal growth or reproduction, but are toxic to plants, animals or humans. Fungal toxin contamination in certain agricultural commodities has been a serious concern for animal and human health.

Do all fungi produce mycotoxins?

It is important to highlight that not all fungi produce mycotoxins as well as that a single fungus species can produce many secondary toxic compounds.

Why toxins of fungal origin are called mycotoxins?

The term ‘mycotoxin’ is usually reserved for the toxic chemical products produced by fungi that readily colonize crops. Examples of mycotoxins causing human and animal illness include aflatoxin, citrinin, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, patulin, trichothecenes, zearalenone, and ergot alkaloids such as ergotamine.

What foods have the most mycotoxins?

Foods most commonly known to be high in mycotoxins include:

  • Grains (including corn, wheat, barley and rye)
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Nuts (including peanuts, pistachios and Brazil nuts)
  • Sugar (sugar cane and sugar beets)
  • Hard cheeses.
  • Coffee beans.
  • Chocolate.
  • Dried fruit.

What are mycotoxins in what popular food?

Mycotoxins appear in almost all kinds of animal feed and products such as wheat bran, noug cake, pea hulls, maize grain, milk and meat, and also human food such as cereal, fruit and vegetables, spice, etc. [5]. Consuming these foods creates serious health risks in human and all animal species.