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Scientists discover fungal strain that can “destroy harmful food toxins"

Food ingredients 1st

Researchers have identified a species of fungus that transforms patulin, a dangerous mycotoxin sometimes found in fruits, into less toxic byproducts. 

Patulin is a harmful mycotoxin produced by fungi typically found in damaged fruits, including apples, pears and grapes. The researchers say that the latest findings provide important insights into the degradation mechanisms for patulin found in nature and can lead to new ways of controlling patulin toxicity in our food supplies. 

Patulin contamination 
Patulin (C7H6O4), a mycotoxin produced by several types of fungi, is toxic to various life forms, including humans, mammals, plants and microorganisms. 

In particular, environments lacking proper hygienic measures during food production are susceptible to patulin contamination. Many of these fungi species grow on damaged or decaying fruits, specifically apples and even contaminate apple products, such as apple sauce, apple juice, jams and ciders.

Responsible for various health hazards, including nausea, lung congestion, ulcers, intestinal hemorrhages and even more severe outcomes, such as DNA damage, immunosuppression and increased cancer risk, patulin toxicity is a serious concern worldwide. As a result, many countries have imposed restrictions on the permitted levels of patulin in food products, especially baby foods, as infants are more vulnerable to the effects of patulin.

Treatment of patulin toxicity includes oxygen therapy, immunotherapy, detoxification therapy and nutrient therapy. However, as prevention is often better than cure, scientists have sought efficient ways to mitigate patulin toxicity in food products. 

Keeping patulin toxicity in check 

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