Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by species of filamentous fungi growing on seeds before harvest or in storage. Mycotoxin contamination of agricultural commodities is a serious concern for human and animal health. The mycotoxins subject to government regulation are aflatoxins, fumonisins, ochratoxins, cyclopiazonic acid, deoxynivalenol/nivalenol, patulin, and zearalenone, which are produced by species of Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Penicillium, with aflatoxins and fumonisins arguably posing the greatest threat to human health worldwide. The frequency, magnitude, and causes of mycotoxin contamination of important agricultural commodities are reviewed here, as a first step in prioritizing mycotoxin problems for future research.
- Agricultural commodities