About this Research Topic
Fungal contamination of foods can result in deterioration of their organoleptic attributes and nutritional quality, economic loss through spoilage, and health risks to consumers through potential mycotoxin exposure. Mycotoxins, which are fungal secondary metabolites, produced mainly by fungi of the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium are of public health concern. Mycotoxigenic fungal infection and subsequent mycotoxin contamination of popularly consumed animal derived foods such as meat and meat products, eggs and milk may induce acute and long-term chronic toxic effects in humans. Such effects include acute mycotoxicosis, and carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and teratogenicity upon chronic exposure. With regards to fungal infection and mould contamination, substantial research has focused on plant derived food products and the quality of animal feed. While fresh meats are commonly processed into ready to eat luncheon meats and dried forms, the fungal profiling and mycotoxicological safety of these foods requires investigation. There is a scarcity of research on mycological status and mycotoxins in animal derived raw and processed food products such as meat and meat products, eggs and milk, effects of processing on the mycological status and nutritional quality of the foods, and options for the management of mycotoxin risk – particularly in low-resource environments where levels of contamination tends to be highest. This implies a gap in the fungal and mycotoxin surveillance database for commonly consumed animal derived foods, and in the understanding of how best to manage mycotoxin risk in food systems.
The proposed article collection will include surveillance of the diversity of fungi and mycotoxin profiles in animal derived food products, safety and quality, influence of processing, nutritional properties, mycotoxin risk management behavior of farmers and food processors, analysis of the health risks posed by mycotoxin contamination of animal versus plant derived foods, and implications for policy, especially in settings where regulatory enforcement capacity is limited.
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