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About this Research Topic

Abstract Submission Deadline 28 February 2023
Manuscript Submission Deadline 31 August 2023

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring health hazards commonly found in multiple grains, peanuts, spices, tree nuts and dried fruits, amongst others, that often form non-tariff trade barriers or result in economic losses. Death and cancer are often identified as consequences of consuming mycotoxin- contaminated ...

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring health hazards commonly found in multiple grains, peanuts, spices, tree nuts and dried fruits, amongst others, that often form non-tariff trade barriers or result in economic losses. Death and cancer are often identified as consequences of consuming mycotoxin- contaminated food, but chronic sub-acute exposure can lead to childhood stunting and partial immune system suppression. In many developing countries limited information is available that documents contamination levels in food. When food security is not a problem, finding a suitable non-food use for contaminated materials is important. Contamination can be reduced by implementing good agricultural, storage and food processing practices. Climate change is expected to change amounts of toxins produced and the geographic range in which toxins are found. Sensitizing farmers, government officials and consumers about risks posed by mycotoxins is a critical step that must be implemented with care to be effective and to prevent public panic.

The interdisciplinary nature of mycotoxins and the risks they pose as well as the regulatory and screening efforts in developed countries often leave these compounds and their associated problems with no good academic home. Disciplines including agricultural economics, biochemistry, mycology, plant pathology, natural product chemistry and human and animal health all are important in determining the impact of mycotoxin contamination in food. The diverse nature and impact of these toxins leads to specialization in measurement of contamination and the assessment of its impact. Food security concerns can result in problematic choices between eating today and increased risk of detrimental health problems in the future. Research to date has provided hypotheses describing health risks, and estimates of contamination levels and economic impact. At this time, more data are needed to test these hypotheses, to justify assumptions made in estimating anticipated contamination levels and economic impact, to identify and document management reduction success stories, and to provide strategies for communicating these results to non-scientists in government and the general public.

• Identification and evaluation of farming and storage practices proposed as toxin-reduction tools.

• Methods that are inexpensive and easy to use for assessing toxin levels.

• Identification of consequences of consuming mycotoxin-contaminated food, especially if the exposure is chronic and sub-acute in nature.

• Impact of climate change on amount and distribution of mycotoxin contamination.

• Communication strategies for sensitizing non-scientists to the risks posed by mycotoxins and actions that can be taken to reduce these risks.

• Case studies of successful risk communication and toxin reduction strategies.

• Assessments of population knowledge of mycotoxins and the risks they can pose.
• Survey data for crops and geographic locations, especially those for which little or no
data are already available.

Keywords: climate change, food safety, food security, post-harvest losses, risk communications, toxin reduction


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