Deoxynivalenol and other Fusarium toxins in wheat and rye flours on the Danish market

P H Rasmussen, F Ghorbani, T Berg
Food Additives and Contaminants 2003, 20 (4): 396-404
Information on the contamination of Danish cereals and cereal products with Fusarium toxins is limited and the last survey is from 1984/1985. In the present study, the occurrence of deoxynivalenol (DON), nivalenol (NIV), HT-2 toxin, T-2 toxin and zearalenone (ZON) was investigated in flour of common wheat, durum wheat and rye. The samples were collected from 1998 to 2001 from both mills and the retail market in Denmark. A total of 190 flour samples were analysed for DON and NIV and about 60 samples for HT-2, T-2 toxin and ZON. DON was most frequently detected with an incidence rate of 78% over all samples for all years. The contamination level varied considerably from year to year, and for wheat and rye the highest incidence and DON concentrations were found in samples from the 1998 harvest. There were regular and heavy rainfalls in Denmark during the flowering period of the crops that year, and DON was found in all samples, with mean concentrations in wheat and rye flour of 191 microg kg(-1) (n=14) and 99 microg kg(-1) (n=16), respectively. Comparison of data from each harvest year showed higher contents of DON in samples of wheat (range 20-527 microg kg(-1)) than in rye (20-257 microg kg(-1)). Contents of NIV, HT-2 toxin and ZON in samples of wheat and rye were generally low, and even in positive samples the contents were close to the detection limit of the methods. The T-2 toxin was detected in only a few of the wheat samples and in low amounts. However, the toxin was found in about 50% of the rye samples collected during 1998-2000, with a mean content of 49 microg kg(-1) (n=25). Durum wheat flour showed the highest DON contamination level, and all samples (n=33) collected during 2000 and 2001 contained DON with means and medians above 1100 microg kg(-1). Over 70% of the samples contained more than 500 microg kg(-1) DON, and the highest observed concentration was 2591 microg kg(-1). The concentration of T-2 toxin in durum wheat flour was also high with five of the 10 analysed samples containing more than 100 g kg(-1).

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