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Mycotoxin, harmful effects of mycotoxin, fungi, mycotoxin health effects

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Mycotoxins are chemical compounds that are produced by certain fungi and tend to be poisonous. Out of the many such compounds found in nature, only a few are found in food and animal feed. When they do occur, they have an impact on the health of humans and livestock.

Mycotoxin health effects

Mycotoxins are associated with crops with mold as they are produced by fungi. Some food-borne mycotoxins cause acute symptoms of illness. The effects can be long-term like cancer or a weak immune system.

Fungi that invade before harvest are called field fungi and ones that infest during storage are called storage fungi. It is important to keep the grain/feed dry during and in storage as damaged grain is prone to fungal invasion.

Are mycotoxins destroyed by cooking?

Most molds can be destroyed by pasteurization as they are heat sensitive. But, there are others who are resistant to heat and are usually found in fruit or fruit products. These can be destroyed with temperatures of 100 degrees or above. In spite of the efforts to curd fungal contamination, they are widely found due to mold infestation is agricultural products like cereals, nuts, and fruits.

Though thousands of mycotoxins exist, only a few cause food safety issues. Mold growth may impact agricultural productions and bring down livestock productivity through illness or death caused by contaminated feed.

Are mycotoxins contagious?

Consuming contaminated feed cause mycotoxins to enter the body, which leads to mycotoxicoses. This condition is not contagious and doesn’t cause a significant to the immune system. Mould begins to form in or on the body by this infection. The most common mycoses are athlete’s foot and ringworm.

Symptoms of black mold infection

The molds that have a dark green or black appearance are usually called Black mold. These molds tend to develop in moist environments like baths, showers, toilets, or kitchens. They can frequently be seen on wood, dirt or paper. Exposure to a high concentration of mycotoxins can lead to health effects like mold poisoning. Common symptoms of mold poisoning include coughing, wheezing, itchy skin or red eyes. Individuals with respiratory issues like asthma may face severe health effects like headaches, exhaustion, chest congestion, allergic reactions, fever or breathing difficulties. Exposure to mold for a long time may cause hair loss, memory loss, stomach pains, anxiety, muscle cramps etc.

Testing for mold poisoning

Mold poisoning can be detected using:

Blood test- These are used to diagnose mold allergies or mold poisoning,

Skin prick test- Mould is applied to the skin to check if there is any reaction to it.

Mold allergies are treated using nasal sprays or rinses, OTC medicines, oral medicine to reduce symptoms or through allergy shots.

Read more – Mycotoxin and its harmful effects by Dr. Premendra Dhar Dwivedi