Fusarial toxins: secondary metabolites of Fusarium fungi

Ksenija Nesic, Snezana Ivanovic, Vladimir Nesic
Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 2014, 228: 101-20
Exposure to mycotoxins occurs worldwide, even though there are geographic and climatic differences in the amounts produced and occurrence of these substances.Mycotoxins are secondary chemical metabolites of different fungi. They are natural contaminants of cereals, so their presence is often inevitable. Among many genera that produce mycotoxins, Fusarium fungi are the most widespread in cereal-growing areas of the planet. Fusarium fungi produce a diversity of mycotoxin types, whose distributions are also diverse. What is produced and where it is produced is influenced primarily by environmental conditions, and crop production and storage methods. The amount of toxin produced depends on physical (viz., moisture, relative humidity, temperature, and mechanical damage), chemical (viz., carbon dioxide,oxygen, composition of substrate, insecticides and fungicides), and biological factors (viz., plant variety, stress, insects, spore load, etc.). Moisture and temperature have a major influence on mold growth rate and mycotoxin production.Among the most toxic and prevalent fusaria) toxins are the following: zearalenone,fumonisins, moniliformin and trichothecenes (T-2/HT-2 toxin, deoxynivalenol,diacetoxyscirpenol, nivalenol). Zearalenone (ZEA; ZON, F-2 toxin) isaphy to estrogenic compound, primarily a field contaminant, which exhibits estrogenic activity and has been implicated in numerous mycotoxicoses of farm animals,especially pigs. Recently, evidence suggests that ZEA has potential to stimulate the growth of human breast cancer cells. Fumonisins are also cancer-promoting metabolites,of which Fumonisin 8 I (FBI) is the most important. Moniliformin (MON) isalso highly toxic to both animals and humans. Trichothecenes are classified as gastrointestinal toxins, dermatotoxins, immunotoxins, hematotoxins, and gene toxins.T-2 and HT-2 toxin, and diacetoxyscirpenol (DAS, anguidine) are the most toxic mycotoxins among the trichothecene group. Deoxynivalenol (DON, vomitoxin) and nivalenol although less toxic are important because they frequently occur at levels high enough to cause adverse effects.The presence of mycotoxins in the animal diet can produce significant production losses. Any considerable presence of mycotoxins, in major dietary components,confirms the need to adopt a continuous prevention and control program. Such programs are usually based on several common approaches to minimize mycotoxin contamination in the food chain. Major strategies include preventing fungal growth and therefore mycotoxin formation, reducing or eliminating mycotoxins from contaminated feedstuffs, or diverting contaminated products to low risk uses. Because of the complexity of their chemical structures, mycotoxins also present a major analytical challenge. They are also found in a vast array of feed matrices. Analysis is essential for determining the extent of mycotoxin contamination, for risk analysis, confirming the diagnosis of a mycotoxicosis and for monitoring mycotoxin mitigation strategies.For the future, adequately controlling the mycotoxin problem in the livestock economy will depend on implementing appropriate agricultural management policies,as well as augmenting production and storage systems and analysis methods.Only such policies offer the opportunity to bring solid and long-lasting economical results to the livestock industry that is afflicted with the mycotoxin problem.

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