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How Will Climate Change Affect Mycotoxins In Food

R. Paterson, Nelson Lima
Published 2010 · Biology

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This invited review and opinion piece, assesses the impact of climate change on mycotoxins in food: only one paper and an abstract referred directly from a substantial literature search and then only in relation to Europe. Climate change is an accepted probability by most scientists. Favourable temperature and water activity are crucial for mycotoxigenic fungi and mycotoxin production. Fungal diseases of crops provide relevant information for pre-harvest mycotoxin contamination. However, the mycotoxin issue also involves post-harvest scenarios. There are no data on how mycotoxins affect competing organisms in crop ecosystems. In general, if the temperature increases in cool or temperate climates, the relevant countries may become more liable to aflatoxins. Tropical countries may become too inhospitable for conventional fungal growth and mycotoxin production. Could this lead to the extinction of thermotolerant Aspergillus flavus? Currently cold regions may become liable to temperate problems concerning ochratoxin A, patulin and Fusarium toxins (e.g. deoxynivalenol). Regions which can afford to control the environment of storage facilities may be able to avoid post-harvest problems but at high additional cost. There appears to be a lack of awareness of the issue in some non-European countries. The era will provide numerous challenges for mycotoxicologists.
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