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Enzymatic detoxification of mycotoxins for healthy food

Posted: 23 June 2014 | | No comments yet

Mycotoxins are poisonous fungal metabolites that occur in food commodities colonised with filamentous fungi and in food products contaminated during processing and storage. Intake of mycotoxins with food poses a health risk to the consumer and legal limits for maximum levels of major mycotoxins in food have therefore been established worldwide. Compliance with these limits poses a challenge to food industry because good integrated plant protection, adequate storage and good manufacturing practices are often insufficient to keep mycotoxin levels below the limits…

Petr Karlovsky, Head of the Molecular Phytopathology and Mycotoxin Research Unit, University of Göttingen

Petr Karlovsky, Head of the Molecular Phytopathology and Mycotoxin Research Unit, University of Göttingen

New options for mycotoxin management with the help of biotechnology rely on enzymatic activities that detoxify mycotoxins enzymatically. Crop plants can be engineered to detoxify mycotoxins in the field. Purified detoxification enzymes or genetically engineered microorganisms (GMOs) producing such enzymes can detoxify mycotoxins during storage and processing of raw materials in food production. GMOs do not have to be declared on food products in the EU when the microorganisms were removed from the product or the enzymes synthesised by GMOs were used merely as processing aid. The situation is similar to numerous consumer goods on the market produced with the help of purified vitamins and enzymes produced by GMOs. Enzymatic detoxification of mycotoxins offers an opportunity to make food healthier with the help of genetic technology without jeopardising market share in spite of the adverse attitude of European consumers toward GMOs.

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