Effect Of Mycotoxins On Human Health And Preventive Methods

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Effect Of Mycotoxins On Human Health And Preventive Methods


Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites secreted by many fungal species and found in many feeds and foodstuffs of especially in plants during their pre-and post-harvest, transportation, processing and storage and are detected in cereal crops. They are capable of causing disease and death in both humans and livestock and thereby induce great economic crisis. This study was carried out to assess the effect of mycotoxins on human health and preventive methods. Favorable environmental conditions such as temperature and prompting humidity facilitate fungal growth and mycotoxin development. Members of the fungal genera Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Penicillium cause frequent and problematic contamination of foods and feeds. Mycotoxin level of sample can be analysed by sampling, preparation, extraction followed by a clean-up and detection performed by many instrumental and non-instrumental techniques; the molecular analysis is the best and promising approach. In Ethiopia, ochratoxins, fumonisins and aflatoxins frequently occur retarding crop production and livestock productivity; these in turn affect human health and income. To keep this effect dimmed, mycotoxin control and prevention mechanisms have a key role; prevention strategy weighs the overall effect. Moreover, biocontrol activities shall be strongly encouraged and focus has to be given to the aspect of mycotoxin.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title Page
  • Declaration
  • Approval
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Content

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background To The Study
  • 1.2 Statement Of The Problem
  • 1.3 Aims/Objectives
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Significance Of The Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Definitions, Etymology, And General Principles
  • 2.2 Toxicology And Human Health
  • 2.3 Major Types Of Mycotoxins
  • 2.4 Factors Favoring Fungal Proliferation And Mycotoxin Production
  • 2.5 Mycotoxin Analysis Techniques

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Data And Sources
  • 3.3 Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results And Discussion

  • 4.1 Effects Of Mycotoxins On Human Health
  • 4.2 Mycotoxin Prevention And Control Strategies
  • 4.2.1 Prevention
  • 4.2.2 Control

Chapter Five

5.0 Conclusion And Recommendation

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • References

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background To The Study

Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites (Majeed et al., 2018) produced by a wide variety of filamentous fungi, including species from the genera Aspergillus, Fusarium, Penicillium, Alternaria and Claviceps that grow under different climatic conditions on agricultural commodities (Marin et al., 2013). Mycotoxins are ubiquitous and contaminate various feedstuffs and agricultural crops and induce a range of harmful effects (Jolly et al., 2011). These metabolites are produced and found in many feeds and foodstuffs especially in plants during their pre- and post-harvest, transportation, processing and storage and are detected in cereal crops (Ezekiel et al., 2014; Juan et al., 2014) and in peanuts (Afolabi et al., 2015). Aflatoxin, ochratoxin, fumonisin, deoxynivalenol and zearalenone are all considered the major mycotoxins produced in food and feedstuffs (Wagacha and Muthomi, 2008). Among the dangerous mycotoxins; aflatoxin, ochratoxin A and fumonisins (FB1 and FB2) represent the greatest health risk in tropical Africa (Manjula et al., 2009), Asia (Li et al., 2014) and the rest of the world (Alborch et al., 2012). Mycotoxins are capable of causing disease and death in both humans and livestock (Bennett and Klich, 2003). The term ‘mycotoxin’ is usually reserved for the toxic chemical products produced by fungi that readily colonize crops (Turner et al., 2009). One mold species may produce many different mycotoxins, and several species may produce the same mycotoxin. The spectrum of toxins produced in a commodity largely depends on one or more fungal species/strains contaminating the commodity, type and composition of commodity, environmental conditions, climatic factors, and also handling practices such as pre-harvest agricultural practices, harvesting, drying, storage, and processing (Chilaka et al., 2016; Ogara et al., 2017).

Mycotoxins are ubiquitous. They can occur in cereals, cereal products and foods, feeds, animal products and soil. Animal feeds commonly harbor mycotoxins are wheat bran, noug cake, pea hulls and maize grain. Concentrated animal feedstuffs harbor the growth of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can be transferred from feed to food of animal origin, as this food represents a significant route of exposure for humans. Apart from their toxicological effect in animals, they carry-over through animal derived products, such as meat, milk and eggs and transfer them into the human food chains (Demissie, 2018). Also, they may be distributed in pre-harvest period (time of plant growing), post-harvest during processing, packaging, distribution and storage of food products. Mycotoxin contamination intensity in crop varies geographically (Pereira et al., 2014; Marta and Bedaso, 2016). Conclusively, all crops and cereals which are stored improperly under favorable temperature and prompting humidity for a long time facilitate mold growth and can be subject to mycotoxin contamination (Ahmad and Jae-Hyuk, 2017); no boundary can limit fungal growth and mycotoxin production unless appropriate measures are taken.

Fungi are major plant and insect pathogens, but they are not nearly as important as agents of disease in vertebrates, i.e., the number of medically important fungi is relatively low. Frank growth of fungi on animal hosts produces the diseases collec- tively called mycoses, while dietary, respiratory, dermal, and other exposures to toxic fungal metabolites produce the dis- eases collectively called mycotoxicoses.

Mycoses range from merely annoying (e.g., athlete’s foot) to life-threatening (e.g., invasive aspergillosis). The fungi that cause mycoses can be divided into two categories, primary pathogens (e.g., Coccidioides immitis and Histoplasma capsu- latum) and opportunistic pathogens (e.g., Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans). Primary pathogens affect otherwise healthy individuals with normal immune systems. Opportunis- tic pathogens produce illness by taking advantage of debili- tated or immunocompromised hosts. The majority of human mycoses are caused by opportunistic fungi (149, 172, 245, 265). The mechanisms of pathogenesis of both primary and oppor- tunistic fungi are complex, and medical mycologists have de- voted considerable research energy trying to identify the fac- tors that distinguish fungal pathogens from saprophytic and commensal species (31, 66). Some infections remain localized, while others progress to systemic infection. For many mycoses, the ordinary portal of entry is through the pulmonary tract, but direct inoculation through skin contact is not uncommon.

In contrast to mycoses, mycotoxicoses are examples of “poi- soning by natural means” and thus are analogous to the pa- thologies caused by exposure to pesticides or heavy metal res- idues. The symptoms of a mycotoxicosis depend on the type of mycotoxin; the amount and duration of the exposure; the age, health, and sex of the exposed individual; and many poorly understood synergistic effects involving genetics, dietary status, and interactions with other toxic insults. Thus, the severity of mycotoxin poisoning can be compounded by factors such as vitamin deficiency, caloric deprivation, alcohol abuse, and in- fectious disease status. In turn, mycotoxicoses can heighten vulnerability to microbial diseases, worsen the effects of mal- nutrition, and interact synergistically with other toxins.

The number of people affected by mycoses and mycotoxico- ses is unknown. Although the total number affected is believed to be smaller than the number afflicted with bacterial, proto- zoan, and viral infections, fungal diseases are nevertheless a serious international health problem. Mycoses caused by op- portunistic pathogens are largely diseases of the developed world, usually occurring in patients whose immune systems have been compromised by advanced medical treatment. My- cotoxicoses, in contrast, are more common in underdeveloped nations. One of the characteristics shared by mycoses and mycotoxicoses is that neither category of illness is generally communicable from person to person.

Mycoses are frequently acquired via inhalation of spores from an environmental reservoir or by unusual growth of acommensal species that is normally resident on human skin or the gastrointestinal tract. These commensal species become pathogenic in the presence of antibacterial, chemotherapeutic, or immunosuppressant drugs, human immunodeficiency virus infection, in-dwelling catheters, and other predisposing factors (31, 66). The majority of mycotoxicoses, on the other hand, result from eating contaminated foods. Skin contact with mold- infested substrates and inhalation of spore-borne toxins are also important sources of exposure. Except for supportive ther- apy (e.g., diet, hydration), there are almost no treatments for mycotoxin exposure, although Fink-Gremmels (80) described a few methods for veterinary management of mycotoxicoses, and there is some evidence that some strains of Lactobacillus effectively bind dietary mycotoxins (72, 73). Oltipraz, a drug originally used to treat schistosomiasis, has been tested in Chinese populations environmentally exposed to aflatoxin (111).

In plant pathology, many secondary metabolites produced by bacteria and fungi are pathogenicity or virulence factors, i.e., they play a role in causing or exacerbating the plant dis- ease. The phytotoxins made by fungal pathogens of Cochliobo- lus (Helminthosporium) and Alternaria, for example, have well- established roles in disease development (287), and several mycotoxins made by Fusarium species are important in plant pathogenesis (62). On the other hand, there is relatively little evidence that mycotoxins enhance the ability of fungi to grow in vertebrate hosts. Aspergillus fumigatus is case in point. It is the major species associated with aspergillosis and produces gliotoxins (inhibitors of T-cell activation and proliferation as well as macrophage phagocytosis). However, gliotoxin is not known to be produced in significant amounts by Aspergillus fumigatus during human disease (265). On the other hand, there are reports that gliotoxin has been associated with infections by Candida albicans (230, 231). The ability to grow at human body temperature (37°C) is clearly an important requirement for systemic mycotic infection, but the optimum temperature for the biosynthesis of most mycotoxins is within a more mesophilic range (20 to 30°C). For this and other reasons, the current view is that while some mycotoxins are known pathogenicity factors in plants, their significance in hu- man mycoses is not yet clear.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

The toxic effect of mycotoxins reveals boundary less distribution and harm of health and economic attributes. Therefore, this review aims to examine the effect of mycotoxins on human health and preventive methods; they are beneficial to the public and research institutes.

1.3 Aims/Objectives

The main aim of this study is to assess the effect of mycotoxins on human health and preventive methods. The specific objectives are outlined below;

  1. To investigate the prevalence and etymology of mycotoxins
  2. To determine the effects of mycotoxins on human health
  3. To identify the methods of prevention and control of adverse effects f mycotoxins on human health

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the prevalence and etymology of mycotoxins?
  2. What are the effects of mycotoxins on human health?
  3. What are the methods of prevention and control of adverse effects f mycotoxins on human health?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

Mycotoxins are not only hard to define, they are also challenging to classify. Due to their diverse chemical structures and biosynthetic origins, their myriad biological effects, and their production by a wide number of different fungal species, classification schemes tend to reflect the training of the person doing the categorizing. Clinicians often arrange them by the organ they affect. Thus, mycotoxins can be classified as hepatotox- ins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, immunotoxins, and so forth. Cell biologists put them into generic groups such as teratogens, mutagens, carcinogens, and allergens. Organic chemists have at- tempted to classify them by their chemical structures (e.g., lac- tones, coumarins); biochemists according to their biosynthetic origins (polyketides, amino acid-derived, etc.); physicians by the illnesses they cause (e.g., St. Anthony’s fire, stachybotryo- toxicosis), and mycologists by the fungi that produce them (e.g., Aspergillus toxins, Penicillium toxins). None of these classifications is entirely satisfactory (Bennett and Klich, 2003). This study will address these concerns as well as provide empirical literature on the subject matter.

Chapter Five

5.0 Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

Fungi cause human illness in different ways. Mycoses are the best-known diseases of fungal etiology, but toxic secondary metabolites produced by saprophytic species are also an im- portant health hazard. The term mycotoxin is an artificial ru- bric used to describe pharmacologically active moldmetabo- lites characterized by vertebrate toxicity. They fall into several chemically unrelated classes, are produced in a strain-specific way, and elicit some complicated and overlapping toxigenic activities in sensitive species that include carcinogenicity, inhibition of protein synthesis, immunosuppression, dermal irritation, and other metabolic perturbations. Mycotoxins usually enter the body via ingestion of contaminated foods, but inhalation of toxigenic spores and direct dermal contact are also important routes.

It is difficult to prove that a disease is a mycotoxicosis. Molds may be present without producing any toxin. Thus, the demonstration of mold contamination is not the same thing as the demonstration of mycotoxin contamination. Moreover, even when mycotoxins are detected, it is not easy to show that they are the etiological agents in a given veterinary or human health problem. Nevertheless, there is sufficient evidence from animal models and human epidemiological data to conclude that mycotoxins pose an important danger to human and animal health, albeit one that is hard to pin down. The incidence of mycotoxicoses may be more common than suspected. It is easy to attribute the symptoms of acute mycotoxin poisoning to other causes; the opposite is true of etiology. It is not easy to prove that cancer and other chronic conditions are caused by mycotoxin exposure. In summary, in the absence of appropriate investigative criteria and reliable laboratory tests, the mycotoxicoses will remain diagnostically daunting diseases.

5.2 Recommendations

Since mycotoxins are ubiquitous (Gizachew et al., 2016) and they can appear everywhere in every commodity thereby inducing numerous economic and health crisis, appropriate and environmentally friendly prevention and control strategies shall be given priority. Moreover, the government shall consider the use of (biotechnological) molecular approaches to control mycotoxins and researches have put forward an insight into molecular based techniques. Because mycotoxins have worldwide distribution and effect, researchers and the WHO in collaboration with FDA should set out appropriate consumption limit standard and sound measures.

Effect Of Mycotoxins On Human Health And Preventive Methods

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Effect Of Mycotoxins On Human Health And Preventive Methods


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