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TECHNOLOGICAL WATCH

Type of information: TECHNICAL ARTICLES

In this section, you can access to the latest technical information related to the PISA project topic.

Mycotoxin contamination in food: an exposition on spices

Background

Among several food and agricultural commodities, spices are valued for their characteristic flavor. They may also impart colour and improve the overall keeping quality of the food. Apart from being used in various indigenous recipes and cuisines, spice and spice extracts are used in traditional medicines, cosmetics, and in a range of other applications.

Scope and Approach

During harvesting, processing, storage and handling, spices are prone to mold growth and subsequent production of secondary metabolites called mycotoxins. The rate of production and the levels of contamination heavily depend on several abiotic factors and the condition of the spice. On the whole, mycotoxin infected spices are not safe for human consumption.

Key Findings

Poor adoption of scientific practices across the spice supply chain is the prime cause of mycotoxin contamination. According to FAO, mycotoxins contaminate nearly 25% of the world's agricultural commodities. Aflatoxins and ochratoxins are the major mycotoxins that contaminate spices. In this review, mycotoxin contamination in spices is explained considering responsible factors that influence their production, health effects, permitted limits in foods, and analytical methods to detect mycotoxins.

Conclusions

With heavy implications on human and animal health, mycotoxin contamination is a threat. Nevertheless, with proper preventive and control measures, mycotoxins contamination in spices can be effectively addressed.

» Author: M.P. Thanushree, D. Sailendri, K.S. Yoha, J.A. Moses, C. Anandharamakrishnan

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