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Mycotoxins are natural secondary metabolites produced by molds under specific environmental conditions. They are primarily produced by molds belonging to the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, and others. Mycotoxins can pose significant health risks to humans and animals if ingested, inhaled, or come into contact with the skin. They can cause a range of adverse effects, including acute toxicity, organ damage, carcinogenicity, immunosuppression, neurotoxicity, and developmental disorders.

Specific Mycotoxins AirAnswers detect:

Trichothecenes: Trichothecenes are a class of mycotoxins produced by several species of molds, including Fusarium and Stachybotrys. These mycotoxins are heat-stable and can contaminate various cereal crops, such as wheat, barley, and corn. Trichothecenes are known for their strong toxic effects, including inhibition of protein synthesis and disruption of DNA synthesis. They can cause gastrointestinal issues, skin irritation, immunosuppression, and potentially lethal effects in severe cases.

Ochratoxin: Ochratoxin is a mycotoxin primarily produced by molds belonging to the Aspergillus and Penicillium genera. It commonly contaminates cereals, coffee, grapes, and other agricultural commodities. Ochratoxin is associated with renal toxicity and has been classified as a possible human carcinogen. Prolonged exposure to ochratoxin through contaminated food or inhalation of dust can contribute to kidney damage, immune system impairment, and adverse effects on the reproductive system.

Aflatoxin: Aflatoxin is produced primarily by the mold species Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. It can contaminate crops such as peanuts, corn, cottonseed, and tree nuts. Aflatoxin is highly carcinogenic and has been linked to liver cancer. It can also cause acute liver toxicity, immune system suppression, and growth impairment in children. Strict regulations are in place to control aflatoxin levels in food products.

Fumonisin: Fumonisins are mycotoxins produced by molds of the Fusarium genus, especially Fusarium verticillioides and Fusarium proliferatum. These mycotoxins can contaminate corn and corn-based products. Fumonisins have been associated with several health issues, including esophageal cancer, neural tube defects in infants, and kidney and liver toxicity. They can also disrupt normal cellular processes and impair the metabolism of sphingolipids.

It’s important to note that mycotoxin contamination can vary depending on factors such as geographical location, agricultural practices, storage conditions, and climate. Strict monitoring, proper food handling, storage practices, and adherence to regulatory guidelines are essential to minimize the risk of mycotoxin exposure.