Multiexposure and combined toxicity of mycotoxins in humans and farm animals. MultiMYCO

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The presence of mycotoxins at low concentrations but causing severe health effects to humans and animals after chronic exposure is a great concern for food safety. The most likely situation is the co-occurrence of several mycotoxins in a food or feed material because they can be contaminated by different fungi and because a fungi can several  mycotoxins: Moreover, human diet is varied.

In order to increase food safety, studies regarding the simultaneous presence of mycotoxins, their most frequent combinations and their concentration levels in food and feed are needed. Hence, the exposure studies are an important part of risk assessment in the field of food safety. Moreover, these studies should be accompanied with the knowledge of mycotoxins bioavailability in animals and men through feed and food, and therefore, their presence in biological fluids, kinetic data, and metabolism studies are also needed to characterize and quantify their toxicity. Moreover, the combined genotoxic effects produced by mycotoxins are not well known.

In order to carry out these studies, it is necessary to have validated analytical methods, with adequate sensibility and, due to the chemical variety of these compounds, to use universal detectors. The liquid chromatography technique with mass detectors (LC-MS) is useful for this purpose.

The objectives of this project address these aspects:

1. To develop and validate analytical methods for the simultaneous quantification of 22 mycotoxins in feed, human and animal plasma and in human milk.

2. To quantify mycotoxins in these matrices and to study the most prevalent ones and their most frequent combinations.

3. To study the relationship between mycotoxins in feed and concentration in animal plasma.

4. To study the relationship between the presence of mycotoxins in plasma and in milk from lactating women.

5. Screening of the combined genotoxic effects of the most frequent combinations of mycotoxins in human and animal plasma.

6. To study the toxicokinetic and genotoxicity in vivo (comet assay) of mycotoxins (individually or in combination) and the metabolism of the most prevalent mycotoxins in the analyzed samples or in bibliography.