Distribution of Fusarium mycotoxins in UK wheat mill fractions

Experiments to understand the effects of processing on mycotoxin distribution in UK wheat mill fractions.

Year of Publication2011

The EU has set maximum limits for the Fusarium mycotoxins, deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZON). The maximum permitted level decreases from unprocessed wheat, through intermediary products, e.g. flour, to finished products such as bakery goods and breakfast cereals. It is, therefore, important to understand the effects of processing on the mycotoxin distribution in mill fractions. Between 2004 and 2007, samples were taken at commercial flour mills at various points in the milling process and analysed for trichothecenes and ZON. Samples with a range of mycotoxin concentrations harvested in 2004 and 2005 were processed in a pilot mill and the mycotoxins in the different mill fractions quantified. In the commercial samples, DON was the predominant mycotoxin with highest levels detected in the bran fraction. Analysis of the pilot mill fractions identified a significant difference between the two years and between mycotoxins. The proportion of DON and nivalenol in the mill fractions varied between years. DON and nivalenol were higher in flour fractions and lower in bran and offal in samples from 2004 compared to samples from 2005. This may be a consequence of high rainfall pre-harvest in 2004 resulting in movement of these mycotoxins within grains before harvest. There was no significant difference in the distribution of ZON within mill fractions between the two years. For DON, higher concentrations in the grain resulted in a greater proportion of DON within the flour fractions. Understanding the factors that impact on the fractionation of mycotoxins during milling will help cereal processors to manufacture products within legislative limits.


Edwards, S. G. 0000-0002-1205-1249; Dickin, E. T. 0000-0002-4544-5375; Macdonald, S.; Buttler, D.; Hazel, C. M.; Patel, S.; Scudamore, K. A. (2011) "Distribution of Fusarium mycotoxins in UK wheat mill fractions"Food Additives and Contaminants: Part A 28 (12) pp 1694-1704

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Additional keywords/tags

zearalenonecereals and grainfusariummodellingmycologymycotoxinsrisk assessmenttrichothecenes
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