Combination of Mycotoxins

Combination of Mycotoxins More Toxic than Single Mycotoxins- paper by A Ficheux et al.

Humans and animals are exposed to many different mycotoxins in the environment and in their food. When mycotoxins are tested in animals or in cell cultures- usually only one mycotoxin is tested at a time. However, the effects of exposure to small amounts of several mycotoxins in foodstuffs can be additive or even more than additive (ie. Synergistic).

A recent French study examined the effects of various mycotoxins on human white blood cells. They tested the effects of several trichothecene mycotoxins such as DON, NIV and T-2 toxin (trichothecenes are toxic to the nervous and immune systems), fumonisin B1 (carcinogenic and toxic to immune system), beauvericin (immunotoxic) and zearolone (toxic to the endocrine system). This research found that combinations of small doses of these mycotoxins were more toxic than the sum of toxic effects of each mycotoxin. For example low levels of NIV and beuvericin had cycotoxic (cell death) effects of 16% and 32% when taken alone, but had a cytotoxic effect of 73% taken together.

The authors concluded

“ A combined consumption of commodities contaminated by several mycotoxins could lead to possible higher risk of adverse effects than consumption of commodities contaminated with only one mycotoxin. Tolerable daily intake (TDI) are allocated from animal data after exposure to one specific mycotoxin. The risk induced by exposure to several mycotoxins following consumption of multi-contaminated commodities is not taken into account into the risk assessment for humans and animals while it could be a matter of concern.”

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