The Chemistry, Analysis, and Toxic Effects of Emerging Mycotoxins


Mycotoxins are organic compounds of low molecular weight, produced as secondary metabolites by several species of fungi, showing various chemical structures and occurring in agricultural commodities, especially in cereal products. Human and animal diseases caused by mycotoxins are called mycotoxicosis, which are diffuse syndromes due to lesions mainly in organs such as liver, kidneys, epithelial tissue (skin and mucous membranes) and central nervous system, depending on the type of the toxin. Also, mycotoxins may cause mutagenic and carcinogenic effects in several animal models and humans.

Although more than 200 fungi species have been considered potentially toxic, the main groups of toxin-producing fungi and their mycotoxins include the genus Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium. The mycotoxins produced by several fungi species in those groups include the aflatoxins, fumonisins, ochratoxins, zearalenone, and trichothecenes, whose levels in food are regulated in many countries around the world because of their frequent occurrence in feedstuffs and the high toxigenic potential. However, a group of mycotoxins which are neither routinely determined nor legislatively regulated, have attracted increasing interest among the scientific community due to their high occurrence in feed and food commodities, sometimes at relatively high concentrations, and potential toxicity towards animals and humans. These are called “emerging mycotoxins”, which most relevant and frequently occurring are compounds produced by Fusarium species, such as enniatins, beauvericin, moniliformin and fusaproliferin. Moreover, modern analytical techniques based on multi-analyte determinations have been successfully introduced into the field of mycotoxin analysis, thus increasing the list of fungal metabolites under the definition of emerging mycotoxins.

In recent years, intensive research on the biosynthesis, physical-chemical properties, analytical methods, occurrence in food and feed materials, and toxic effects in different biological systems have contributed for understanding the distribution and mechanisms of toxicity of emerging mycotoxins, as well as their potential involvement in animal and/or human diseases.

For this Research Topic, we welcome investigators to contribute original research articles as well as review articles that will cover knowledge gaps on the chemistry, analysis and toxic effects of emerging mycotoxins in food and feed products. Any manuscript type is welcomed, including recent development in analytical methods, mechanistic in vitro and in vivo studies, toxicokinetics and biotransformation of emerging mycotoxins in human and animal models.