Certain molds commonly found on agricultural products have the capacity to form chemical substances that are harmful when eaten by humans or animals. These chemical metabolites are called mycotoxins, a term derived from "myco" meaning fungus and "toxin" meaning poison. Mycotoxins are associated with crops that have been stressed during the growth cycle or during storage. Such conditions include cool damp summers, late wet harvests, drought and environmentally stressful conditions and poor storage after harvests, even at moisture levels as low as 16%. Mycotoxins can remain in food & feed long after the fungus that produced them has died; therefore, toxins can be present even when there are no visible signs of mold or fungus. A proactive monitoring program for agricultural commodities should always include testing for mycotoxins to ensure the safety of a product. Aflatoxin is a commonly found and particularly toxic mycotoxin, even at very low concentrations, and its B1 form is the most toxic.
Mycotoxins are found in raw cereal crops, fruits, nuts, dairy products, spices, teas, and botanicals. Since these products often are used as major ingredients in many foods and feeds, analytical methods are tailored to accommodate all these matrices. Global regulations for controlling the common mycotoxins include many of these products. Our laboratories can test for a wide variety of mycotoxins in foods and feeds including:
Cereal grains, Flour, Feeds by ELISA methods:
Aflatoxin – Ochratoxin – T-2/HT-2 – Vomitoxin (DON) – Fumonisin – Zearalenone
Dairy Products by HPLC methods:
Fruits and Vegetables, Nuts, Baby Food, Coffee, Cocoa, Beverages, Spices, Botanicals by HPLC Methods:
Aflatoxin B1 B2 G1 G2 – Ochratoxin A
All Foods and Feeds by LC-MSMS Methods:
Citrinin - Diacetoxyscirpenol (DAS) - Fumonisin B1 B2 B3 – Nivalenol – Patulin - T-2 / HT-2 Toxin - Vomitoxin (DON or Deoxynivalenol), 3-acetyl-DON - Zearalenone
Methods of Mycotoxin Analysis
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)
ELISA tests are approved by USDA for most cereal grain products and many feeds, can be performed in shorter time periods than HPLC tests and provide relatively accurate screening results. Several ELISA kits have AOAC or AOACRI approval. ELISA techniques are based on a coupling reaction between a specific mycotoxin and antibodies specific for those mycotoxins. If an ELISA assay produces a positive result it can be confirmed using HPLC or LC-MSMS methods.
High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
HPLC methods with fluorescence detection for analyzing aflatoxins B1 B2 G1 G2, aflatoxin M1, and ochratoxin A are the most commonly used on a variety of foods. They are based on AOAC and other industry approved methods. These methods are capable of lower quantitation limits than ELISA methods, capable of Aflatoxin speciation for the most toxic B1 form, and are less susceptible to interferences in foods than ELISA. Many global regulations and commodity trading limits for Aflatoxin and ochratoxin are based on HPLC-Fluorescence methods.
Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LC-MSMS)
LC-MSMS methods are the most sensitive and selective methods available for the other mycotoxins such as the fumonisins, Vomitoxin, T-2/HT-2, Nivalenol, and Patulin. The methods include rugged extraction, cleanup, and analysis by LC-MSMS.
Eurofins labs performing mycotoxin testing are accredited under ISO 17025.