What are Mycotoxins
According to the World Health Organization, mycotoxins are toxic compounds naturally produced by certain types of molds (fungi). They grow on either on the floor or walls in a humid and confined environment or on many foodstuffs such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts, and spices. Mold growth can occur before or after harvest, during storage, on or in the food itself, often in a hot, humid and moist environment.
Mycotoxins are produced by just over 360 species of mold, mostly belonging to the type of Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Penicillium. They have a low molecular weight and are most often thermo-stable in a non-aqueous medium, and therefore difficult to degrade. In most cases, they can survive in food even after the elimination of mold. There are several hundred types of mycotoxins, but the most harmful ones for our health are Aflatoxins, Ochratoxin A, Patulin, Fumonisins, Zearalenone, and Nivalenol. They appear in the food chain because of the contamination of crops by molds, these toxins can also contaminate the human being by air. Even if they are mostly known for long term harmful effects, such as immune deficiency or cancer, mycotoxins can also expose to immediate complications such as acute intoxication.