Mycotoxins: Management and innovative tools for detection

Mycotoxins are toxic low molecular compounds produced by the secondary metabolism of certain fungal species and are known to impose severe health effects on both humans and animals. In most cases they occur in tropical and temperate regions and are known to affect major agricultural commodities such as nuts, cereals spices, seeds, coffee and fruits (Rodrigues et al., 2012). Mycotoxins are mostly produced during storage of agricultural commodities but their formation can take place even during processing (Buszewska-Forajta, 2020). The most toxic category of mycotoxins is aflatoxins which are known for their carcinogenic potential as well as for the damage they can cause to liver (Buszewska-Forajta, 2020).

According to Codex, mycotoxins levels in foods must be very low because of their high toxicity. For instance, Codex has set the maximum levels for aflatoxins for a variety of nuts, grains, dried figs and milk which are fall in the range of 0.5 to 15 µg/kg (WHO, 2018). Intense efforts have been made globally in order to efficiently manage mycotoxins, though an early detection and identification is crucial. Certain biosensors may provide with accurate and rapid results like in the case of a colorimetric sensor with zinc oxide nanoparticles which has been recently developed and proved very efficient in detecting aflatoxin B1 in rice (Khansili et al. 2020). Therefore, do you believe that biosensors can become high potential tool for the detections of mycotoxins from agricultural commodities?


Buszewska-Forajta, M. (2020). Mycotoxins, invisible danger of feedstuff with toxic effect on animals. Toxicon , 182: 34–53. doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2020.04.101.

Khansili, N., Rattu, G., Kumar, A. and Krishma, P.M. (2020). Development of colorimetric sensor with zinc oxide nanoparticles for rapid detection of aflatoxin B1 in rice. Materials Today: Proceedings , 21: 1846–1855. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matpr.2020.01.240

Rodrigues, P., Venâncio, A. and Lima, N. (2012). Mycobiota and mycotoxins of almonds and chestnuts with special reference to aflatoxins. Food Research International , 48: 76–90. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2012.02.007.

WHO. (2018). Mycotoxins. WHO (Online). Accessed on 16th of August 2020 from: Mycotoxins