DARCOF · Research > Darcof II > Preventing mycotoxin problems

Preventing mycotoxin problems

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring compounds, and some of them constitute a severe threat to the health of humans and animals. In Danish grown cereals, ochratoxin A (OA) and trichothecenes are considered to be the most important mycotoxins. Opposed to compounds like pesticides and antibiotics, which are excluded from organic farming, the mycotoxin problems cannot be totally eliminated. They can, however, be reduced very much if fungal growth and mycotoxin formation is inhibited by suitable management practices. Several reports and observations indicate, that organically produced cereals are sensitive to mycotoxin contamination, stressing the relevance of this subject.

The two major objectives of the project are to increase knowledge on the ecology of mycotoxin producing fungi, and to provide the farmer with information on the importance of mycotoxin producing fungi, as well as practical means to reduce their dissemination, proliferation and toxin formation.

The experimental part of the project will focus on management practices, which are relevant to the general practice in organic farming, and which are known or assumed to affect the OA producing P. verrucosum and the trichothecene producing species of Fusarium. The work will address both preharvest and postharvest aspects with a main emphasis on seed quality, harvest practice, and drying facilities. One objective is to evaluate the effect of a new drum drying technique on the occurrence of fungi on bread grain. During the course of the project, information on how to prevent mycotoxin problems will be made available to farmers and extension service in the form of popular papers and a video, stressing those management practices, which the present project demonstrates to be critical.


Project title
I.12 Preventing Mycotoxin Problems (PREMYTOX)

Project leader
Susanne Elmholt, Senior Scientist, Ph.D.
Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Physiology and Soil Science
P.O. Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele
Phone: +45 89 99 18 58, Fax: +45 89 99 16 19
E-mail: susanne.elmholt@agrsci.dk

Project participants
Erik Fløjgaard Kristensen and Helle Hestbjerg, DIAS
Ulf Thrane, Technical University of Denmark