An overview of mycotoxin contamination in foods and its implications for human health

K. R.N. Reddy, B. Salleh, B. Saad, H. K. Abbas, C. A. Abel, W. T. Shier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

324 Scopus citations


Mycotoxins are natural contaminants of cereals and other food commodities throughout the world and they significantly impact human and animal health. Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by species of filamentous fungi growing on grains before harvest and in storage. When ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through skin, mycotoxins may reduce appetite and general performance, and cause sickness or death in humans. Mycotoxins subject to government regulation in most countries include aflatoxins, fumonisins, ochratoxins, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, and patulin, produced by species of Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Penicillium. Aflatoxins, fumonisins, and ochratoxins pose the most serious threats to human health worldwide. This review describes the prevalence of mycotoxins in foods and its implications on human health, which may help in establishing and carrying out proper management strategies. Data from detailed investigations of food mycotoxins worldwide help provide safer food for consumption and help prioritize future research programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-26
Number of pages24
JournalToxin Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Aflatoxin
  • Foods
  • Fumonisin
  • Human health
  • Mycotoxins


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