Deoxynivalenol (DON) and nivalenol (NIV), which are produced by Fusarium fungi as secondary metabolite, are among the mycotoxins known as trichothecenes and they naturally occur in cereal grains of bread making wheat. In this study, contamination levels of these mycotoxins in various wheat flour samples containing domestic flour used for the mass production of bread and related products were collected and analyzed in Japan. Samples of flour and bread were collected from nine prefectures, and their trichothecene levels were measured by a validated High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry system. The average concentrations of DON and NIV in flour samples collected were 31.3 ± 28.9 and 8.5 ± 3.7 μg/kg, whereas those in bread samples were 8.6 ± 5.1 μg/kg and 3.4 ± 2.0 μg/kg, respectively. These results suggest that the percentage of DON and NIV remaining after converting flour into bread using industrial equipment and baking yeast were estimated as approximately 74.4 and 65.8 %, respectively.
The relationship between the effect of storage temperature, the growth of Penicillium expansum and its production of patulin on apple were studied. To prevent fungal spoilage and patulin production it was demonstrated that apples needed to be stored just below 0 °C. It was also shown that once fungal decay had commenced, it spread relatively quickly and that patulin was produced, even when apples were stored at +1 °C. However, when apples were stored at +5 °C or below there was some time lag before decay and the onset of patulin formation. Therefore it was concluded that it is very important to store apples at +5 °C or less as soon as possible after harvest.
Since mycotoxins are the most serious contaminants in food, strict standards have been established internationally. However, the insufficient inspection techniques have caused the trade stagnation of agricultural produce especially from developing countries. Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) inaugurated a group training course on Mycotoxin Inspection in Food in FY1989 at Hyogo International Center (HIC) as a host organizer, with the aim of consolidating pre-export food examination system and enabling participants to learn the methodology and technology for mycotoxin inspection in food. The training course consists of lectures, laboratory practices and observation. Lectures include general view of mycotoxins, aflatoxin and ochratoxin contamination, toxigenic Fusarium spp. and their mycotoxins (trichothceces, zearalenone, fumonisins), sampling plans, chemical analysis and immunoassay, prevention and control, and risk assessment. Laboratory practices include clean-up by multifunctional and immunoaffinity columns, analysis by HPLC, ELISA, immunochromatography, and LC-MS, and are carried out mainly at Kobe City Institute of Health and Nagoya City Public Health Research Institute. JICA/HIC has received 129 participants from 28 countries during 1989 - 2007. In addition to this training course, JICA/HIC has organized several related projects including the special course for Brazil - Cost-share Project for Networking in Brazil (1999-2001, 17 Brazilian participants), the followup team for ex-participants in Malaysia and Thailand (1995), and the follow-up seminar on JICA Group Training on Mycotoxin Inspection in Food - Substainable Networking for Mycotoxin Inspection in Asia (2006, Bangkok, Thailand).
In the last decade, the author has strived to develop the international collaboration in research for food safety including that for mycotoxins, using fellowship programs for overseas students and grants for scientific research managed by JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) and the Ministry of Education,Culture, Spoets, Science and Technology. We studied the fate and metabolism of mycotoxins in animal body as one of our cooperative studies with foreign researchers and students. We showed characteristic features of distribution of nivalenol and fusarenon-X in mice and poultry, including the transfer of the toxins from mother to fetus or suckling pups. Also the importance of glutathione-S transferase toward aflatoxin-epoxide in species difference of susceptibility to aflatoxin. These findings have been published in toxicology and other journals, hoping to be utilized effective for the development of technology to prevent health hazards by mycotoxins.
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) is Codex Alimentarius panel, which is administrated by FAO and WHO. The committee consists of international scientific experts of food additives and contamination. The committee evaluates the safety of food additives. contaminants, naturally occurring toxicants such as mycotoxins and residues of veterinary drugs in food. The Committee has developed principles for the safety assessment of chemicals in food and also established the provisional tolerance dairy intakes (PMTDI). Based on the evaluation, the committee recommends the guideline and maximum residues limit (MRL) to Codex Alimentarius. Until now, JECFA has evaluated total aflatoxin. patulin, ochratoxin A, zearalenone, deoxynivalenol, T-2/HT-2 toxin, fumonisins, aflatoxin M1. Except total aflatoxin and aflatoxin M1, these mycotoxins has been set PMTDI.In this paper, the role of JECFA is introduced with the relationship of Codex Alimentarius.
The project for Strengthening of Food Safety Programme in Malaysia and its follow-up is a joint four years (June 2001 to May 2005) technical cooperation project between Japan and Malaysia. The project purpose is to increase the availability of safe food for Malaysian consumers and the project′s main activities are strengthening of capability of food analysis and strengthening of food inspection and technical guidance. As a result of collaborative efforts, progress has been made in capacity building in food analysis, food safety monitoring programme and food inspection system. We have learned through implementation of the project. First, the commitment and ownership by the recipient side is a key for the success and further improvement of food safety programme in a sustainable manner. Second, the approach the project took in capacity building especially for food analysis is effective for not only technical transferring but also human resource development.