May, 06
2014

MYCOTOXINS IN BREAST MILK

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Category: Technical Articles

 luke-curtis

Breast feeding is generally preferable to bottle feeding. However, breast milk can become contaminated with many toxins that the nursing mother has absorbed through food, water, and the environment in general.

 

 

Josef Rupert et al. Evaluation of mycotoxins and their metabolites in human breast milk using liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry. Analytica Chimica Acta 2014;820:39-46. AND

A Elzupir et al. Alfatoxin M1 in breast milk in nursing Sudanese mothers. Mycotoxin Research 2012;28:131-4.

Many studies have reported that fungi produced toxins (mycotoxins), such as aflatoxins, ochratoxins, trichothecenes, and fuminosens, frequently contaminate foodstuffs such as peanuts, grains and fruits. However studies measuring levels of mycotoxins in breast milk have been scarce.

A Spanish study measured mycotoxin levels in the breast milk from 35 young nursing mothers. Detectable levels of mycotoxins were found in 21 of the 35 samples (60%). Detectable levels of zearalenone were found in 13 of the samples (37%), and detectable levels of the trichothecene HT-2 were found in 10 of the samples (28%). High levels of enniatin mycotoxins (261.1 and 277.3 nanograms per milliliter of breast milk) were found in 2 samples. (Zearalenone is a mycotoxin which mimics the effects of estrogen and may disrupt development and reproduction. Trichothecenes are very toxic to the immune and nervous systems. Enniatins have a wide range of cytotoxic effects.). 

A Sudanese study reported that aflatoxin M1 was detected in 51 of 94 (54%) breast milk samples. The maximum level of aflatoxin M1 detected were 2.561 nanograms per milliliter of milk. The main route of exposure for the nursing mothers were from eating peanut butter, vegetable oils, and rice. The authors concluded “The toxin levels are alarmingly high, and indicate that Sudanese infants are exposed to high levels of aflatoxins (AFM1).” (Aflatoxins are strong carcinogens and have strong immune suppressing effects.)

 

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